How to Get Help to Buy a London Home

The Mayor’s Homes for Londoners scheme has been given a boost after it was announced this week that 900 affordable new homes are to be built in Newham, East London.

The houses and apartments are part of a £3.5bn development between Lendlease and the investment fund Starwood Capital, which is set to create 3,000 residential homes in the capital in total.

Current London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged to build 116,000 affordable homes by 2022 – either to buy or to rent – with more than £4.8 billion of government funding. The properties are to be earmarked for individuals, couples and families on low incomes, as well as Londoners with an average income who want to save for a deposit to purchase a home (and which they can do so under the government’s Help to Buy Scheme).

Shared ownership option powering ahead

Another targeted group under the mayor’s Homes for Londoners scheme are City dwellers who want to buy their first property but find current housing prices overall too expensive, in particular saving for an enormous deposit. Shared Ownership properties have been offering more and more people a lifeline when it comes to getting a foot on the property ladder.

One such housing association offering Shared Ownership opportunities in London and the South East of England is Moat Homes. In partnership with the government’s Homes and Communities Agency, the 30-year-old company offers Londoners the opportunity to buy a house with a 25 to 75 per cent mortgage and rent the remainder on a reduced rent (hence the ‘shared’ tag ie it’s a combination of buy/rent). They can then buy more of the property at a later stage by increasing their share of the mortgage (known as ‘staircasing’).

Homes that Moat currently advertises on leading affordable homes portal Property Booking include one and two bedroom apartments at Anthology’s Deptford Foundry in London and which are due to become available, with a minimum 35 per cent mortgage, in 2019. Meanwhile, a recent development of two bedroom apartments in Greenwhich near the O2 with mortgages starting at 25 per cent (a share price of £135,000) has now been fully-booked.

Another London (and Hertfordshire) Shared Housing provided is social housing organisation Origin. More than 90 years old, it operates in North London. Recent shared ownership opportunities they’ve offered includes a two bedroom apartment in Enfield at £87,500 with a 25 per cent share.

Sadiq Khan also pledged up to £50m to help people leaving hostels and refuges to find more permanent accommodation.

Value of London property finally falling

The affordable homes and shared ownership options come at a time when the price of property in London is currently falling (at least in Greater London. Last month’s Rightmove House Price Index, for instance, showed falls in the value of property in Transport for London zones three to six.

This was confirmed by recent housing statistics from the government’s Office of National Statistics which showed that overall house prices in London have fallen for the second year in a row – this time by 0,7 per cent (and which is the largest drop since 2009). At the same time, house prices have risen at the average rate of 4.2 per cent throughout the rest of the UK. Property analysts blame Brexit, cuts in tax breaks to landlords and over-inflated prices for the London property falls.