House prices in London may finally be falling, according to the latest government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) report – but it doesn’t mean an apartment or house has become any more affordable to the average Londoner. This is especially the case when you consider that until last month inflation was lower than house price rises.
And in fact, despite being the second successive annual drop in house prices, the 0.7 per cent reduction revealed by the ONS, is a mere drop in the ocean when you consider the overall average price for a property in London stands at £663,837 in June 2018 So, what’s to be done if you’re an individual, couple or family who desperately want to get your foot on the property ladder AND live in the capital? Well, there are actually several options to make that property dream a reality, such as:
A government scheme which allows you to ‘share’ the cost of a home in London via part buying and part subsidised-renting, it allows you to spread the cost of owning your home over a number of years – even decades. Buying a home becomes easier in the first place because you only need a mortgage for anything between 25 to 75 per cent of the property’s value and you would pay the remainder in rent.
This means that a two bedroom home valued at say £585,000 would only cost £146,250 with a 25 per cent shared mortgage, meaning the minimum deposit you would need to find would only be £7,313. As you build up savings over the years you can begin to get a mortgage for a higher amount of the property, meaning you would then pay less rent. This is known as ‘staircasing’ with the idea that eventually you would own all the property.
Shared ownership has become recognised as a much more affordable way to get a foot on the London property ladder. Housing Associations which offer shared ownership properties include Moat , Origin and Southern. All of these organisations offer properties via the leading shared housing scheme portal Property Booking.
Help to Buy
Other more affordable ways to buy a property in the capital include signing up to the government’s Help to Buy scheme. There are two strands to this. The first is Help to Buy Equity where the government pays 40 per cent of the cost of your London home by lending you an interest-free loan for up to five years.
The second is the Help to Buy ISA where if you pay in £200 a month, the government will give you £50 a month (or 25 per cent of any savings you make every month). By paying £200 on a month by month basis, you could end up getting an extra £3000 in government interest – which you don’t have to pay back – provided it’s used for buying your first home. The beauty of this scheme is that if you’re a couple, you can both put the additional £3000 towards the same property.