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Part-buy offers earlier step onto property ladder

LOW-COST shared ownership can make the property dream come true for many frustrated first-time buyers before they reach their mid-late 30s. That's the encouraging message for young homehunters who feel daunted by ever-rising property prices and new statistics that show the average buyer won't take their first step onto the property ladder until the age of 36.

That age is even higher at 41 in the South West, according to research published by MoneySuperMarket comparison site − and the general affordability gap is now so great that more than a third of potential would-be homebuyers say they have given up on their dream.

Bromford Homes Head of Sales Alan Bradley offers such buyers a cautious message of hope in the form of shared ownership, the part-buy, part-rent deal that means a typical homehunter on a lower income can get onto the property ladder for less than half the cost of a traditional open-market purchase.

"These research findings make grim reading indeed for young working people who dream of owning a home they can call their own − and in the same week we're told by the nation's biggest building society that the average UK home now costs £186,512," says Alan.

According to the Nationwide, May was the 13th month in a row when house prices went up − pushing the dream of home ownership even further from the reach of would-be buyers on lower incomes.

"Rising prices certainly help to explain why so many first-time buyers are starting to lose hope," says Alan, "and why, according to MoneySuperMarket, the average buyer will have to wait until their mid-30s before they can afford to take their first step onto the property ladder."

Oaklands Goldcrest 960x400

Shared ownership can help to close this yawning affordability gap, says Alan, because the maximum deposit can be as little as £3,938* for a three-bed home (pictured above) at a typical development like Oaklands, Rugby, or £3,082** for a three-bed at nearby Colliers Green, New Arley − between Nuneaton and Coventry.

"Our customers tell us time and time again that these affordable deposits of between £3,000 and £4,000 make all the difference for them," says Alan. "Compare that with the tens of thousands that might be required for an average open-market deposit and you understand why so many first-time buyers are saying yes to shared ownership − and why many of them are able to do so while they are still in their 20s."

He points to a string of case study customers − all of them in their mid or late 20s − who've shared their stories with us after moving into a new Bromford home. They are:

ANNA Malarska (below), 28-year-old mum and finance administrator, who bought a two-bed at Oaklands

Anna keys 960x400

THOMAS Turner, 24 when he bought his two-bed at St Mark's View, Cheltenham

VICTORIA Follows, a 28-year-old trainee solicitor, now living in a two-bed at Castle View, Stafford

JO Doody, 29 when she and partner Darren Hack, bought their three-bed at The Farthings, Ketley

MATT McIntyre, 27 when he and partner Clare McLaughlin (pictured below) saw their homebuying dream come true at Larks Rise, Coventry. They couple now have a baby!

Larks Rise Matt and Clare

"These customers are fairly typical of the 200-plus buyers who said yes to shared ownership with Bromford last year and, although it's only a random sample, we can see that they're all in their mid or late 20s," says Alan.

"The average age is just over 27, which is almost ten years less than the average first-time buyer age quoted in the MoneySuperMarket findings. This is, of course, only a straw poll but it does reflect our overall experience with first-time buyers.

"So my message to any younger homehunters who want to follow in the footsteps of our buyers is to give us a call now and find out how shared ownership could make YOUR dream come true. We can't help everyone but if your household income is less than £60,000 and you can't afford to buy on the open market, then you could qualify."

To find out more about shared ownership call 0845 60 10 878 or register for updates. You can also keep in touch by following us on Twitter or Facebook.

* £78,750 buys a typical 45% share of a three-bed Goldcrest home with a full market value of £175,000. A minimum deposit on that share would be £3,938, assuming a 95% mortgage. ** £61,650 buys a typical 45% share of a three-bed Cowley home with a full market value of £137,000. A minimum deposit on that share would be £3,082, assuming a 95% mortgage.

03 June 2014