If I didn’t use Shared Ownership, I think I would have had to save for another five or six years, at least.

Getting onto the property ladder is becoming increasingly difficult for first-time buyers – particularly in the capital, where prices continue to rise year on year. It comes with little surprise therefore, that the average age of a first-time home-purchaser is thirty years old. Schemes such as Shared Ownership have helped to alleviate some of the financial strain often associated with purchasing a first home; which is exactly how 26-year old Sophie secured a spacious one-bedroom apartment at Network Homes’, A+ in Hounslow.

Sophie, who works in Property and Development comments: “I used to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Hampton, where my rent was roughly £900 per month. Although this figure isn’t unreasonable for a London rental property, I still felt like I was throwing my money away unnecessarily; so, I made a conscious effort to I set aside roughly £300 a month across the three years. With the Stamp Duty Holiday in full swing, it seemed like the perfect time to purchase a property.”

Sophie continues: “I looked at a couple of different Shared Ownership properties in and around London and Croydon, but A+ was the best by far. Not only was it affordable, but it’s situated right by the high street, so I have access to a range of shops and restaurants, in addition to two train stations, a bus station and a number of main roads that lead directly to my place of work and family in Twickenham. The development also accommodates my dog, Skylar, which from my experience is quite rare for an apartment scheme.”

 “I visited the development in September and moved into my apartment on March 31st. It’s a one-bedroom apartment, but is infinitely bigger than my previous place and comes with a balcony – which I love! The specification in the kitchen and bathroom is really smart, and my bedroom is very spacious.”

She continues: “Ultimately though, I think the affordability aspect was the most important consideration for me. If I didn’t use Shared Ownership, I think I would have had to save for another five or six years, at least. Getting onto the property ladder is really difficult for buyers in their twenties and thirties – especially in London; but A+ gave me the opportunity to do so in an affordable way; and Network Homes helped to relieve some of the financial burden by covering the cost of my parking for a year. Little things like this mean a lot when you’re purchasing a home for the first time.”

Explaining the financial aspect of the purchase, Sophie adds: “I didn’t have any financial assistance, so Shared Ownership was a great option for me. I purchased a 25% share of the property and put down a deposit of £6,000 in addition to solicitors’ fees. Over the course of the next two years I’d like to have paid a further 25-50%, and aim to have full ownership by the time I’m thirty.”

Finalising the interview, Sophie discusses the service she received from Network Homes:
“Network Homes was great. The team facilitated a smooth viewing process and was really helpful throughout. The sales agent, Kia, is brilliant; she did everything she could to ensure I felt comfortable and helped to encourage the respective parties to process the necessary paperwork as quickly as possible. I would definitely recommend Network Homes to family and friends.”

Situated in the up-and-coming West London neighbourhood of Hounslow, A+ comprises a stylish selection of one and two-bedroom Shared Ownership apartments; set within an elegant mansion block, and surrounding a private garden square.

Travel options are abundant in Hounslow. Residents can walk to Hounslow East Underground Station in just eight minutes; giving access to the West End in as few as 35 minutes, or Kings Cross in under an hour. Residents can also make use of Hounslow Railway Station, offering direct trains to Waterloo or Clapham Junction in under an hour. For those travelling by car, both the A4 and M4 run past Hounslow, providing links to Hammersmith and Central London, as well as Slough, Reading, Swindon and Bristol.