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Part-buy rises to occasion for home cook Victoria

RISING property prices were a real worry for first-time buyer Victoria Follows. She spent many months looking for an affordable way to get onto the property ladder and was starting to think her dream might never come true when she found out about our shared ownership houses at Castle View, Stafford.

Our affordable part-buy, part rent scheme − also known as shared ownership − meant Victoria could afford to go solo and use the savings she had built up while living with her parents as deposit on a new two-bed house that she could call her own.

That was just three months ago and 28-year-old Victoria is still loving every minute of her new lifestyle − including the freedom to "make as much mess as possible while trying out new recipes" in her own kitchen!

This enthusiastic home cook looks forward to increasing her ownership share when she can afford it and − from a personal point of view − has already recommended shared ownership to other first-time buyers.

"Shared ownership really is an affordable way to get your foot on the property ladder − especially if, like me, you want to buy a home in an area that you couldn't otherwise afford," says Victoria, a trainee solicitor.

"I had been looking to buy my own home for more than six months, on and off. Stafford property prices can be quite high so there were fairly few places in my price range on the open market.

"I did consider renting but felt this would be wasting money and not actually get me anywhere. Then I heard about the new estate being built at Doxey, on the outskirts of Stafford (pictured below), and my younger brother drew my attention to the shared ownership homes.

Street Scene

"I was aware of shared ownership and decided it was right for me. Buying a share rather than outright means the deposit is much more affordable than if buying outright.

"The total monthly costs are very reasonable too. This was important for me as I was apprehensive about making the leap to being a property owner because of all the other associated costs on top of the mortgage. Knowing that I had the support of Bromford through the buying process and afterwards also gives me peace of mind."

Three months after collecting the keys to her first home, the trainee solicitor is happily settled in with her cat Tilly and − for the time being − her younger brother Andy.

"Having a home of my own is everything I hoped for − and more. It's convenient for the daily commute into Stafford where I work, and my family and friends all live locally so the location really is ideal," says Victoria. "Looking ahead, I certainly plan to increase the share I own through what's called staircasing when I can afford it and eventually, in my own time, would like to own my home outright."

So would she recommend shared ownership to other first-time buyers?

"Yes and I already have! I would definitely tell them to go for it. It's important, of course, to make sure you know exactly what they are signing up to but shared ownership is a truly affordable way of getting onto the property ladder."

Bromford Homes Head of Sales Alan Bradley highlights Castle View as one of Bromford's big shared ownership success stories during 2013.

"Shared ownership is ideal for buyers like Victoria who have local roots, see private sector rent as wasted money and simply can't afford open market prices in a popular place like Stafford where property prices are relatively high and incomes for many people simply haven't kept pace," he says.

Stafford 26

"We had more than 20 shared ownership homes here and they were snapped up in a matter of months, with some buyers paying as little as £35,000* for a minimum 25% share of a two-bed house and as little as £1,750* in deposit.

"This rapid take-up highlights the need here in Staffordshire (above) and across central England for an affordable and secure alternative to private renting. That's why first-time buyers keep saying a big YES to shared ownership."

* £35,000 would buy a 25% share of a two-bed house at Castle View and a deposit could be as little as £1,750 with a 95% mortgage on that minimum share. The actual amount you buy reflects what you can afford. It ranges from 25% to a maximum or 75%, with 40% being a typical amount, and you pay low rent on the remaining share.

To find out more about shared ownership homes in your area, register for updates or call us on 0845 60 10878. You can also keep in touch by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

01 November 2013