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Tom & Alberto get a buzz from N1 living

Tom and Alberto get a buzz from N1 living- thanks to Metropolitan Shared Ownership homes at Reliance Wharf

Thomas and Alberto enjoying their balcony at Reliance Wharf

As the average age of first time buyers rises, so the prospect of owning a home remains distant for many young couples living in London. Tom Cole and Alberto Copa didn’t think it was possible to buy a home of their own but, thanks to Shared Ownership from Metropolitan, were happy to think again.

Before buying a home, Tom and Alberto found that they were constantly moving in and out of rental properties at the whim of private landlords and were unable to put down roots; they wanted the choice of a better home, stability, security and peace of mind as Tom explains:

“Over the last four years we had to move every year as landlords would either want to sell the property or put the rent up.  Our last place in Hackney was a converted warehouse with zero outdoor space and it was north facing so it was constantly dark and gloomy during the day, all the neighbouring flats were rented on Assured Shorthold Tenancy contracts and people were constantly moving in and out. This meant that the community was quite transient and no one knew their neighbours.”

In November 2012, Tom and Alberto moved from their privately rented flat to their own, brand new 2-bedroom Shared Ownership apartment at Reliance Wharf, N1. Since then, life couldn’t be better; their spacious, modern apartment overlooks Regents Canal and has a number of high specification features including chic and contemporary decor, a bespoke fitted kitchen with Bosch appliances, en-suite bathroom, utility room and a large balcony.

The couple didn’t consider buying their own home to be an affordable option until they found out about their low cost home ownership options.

“Unless we received an unfeasibly large pay increase or there was crash in the property market, we couldn’t afford anything locally on the private market,” Tom said.

“We chose Metropolitan because of the Reliance Wharf development and because we realised that with the Shared Ownership option we could actually afford to live in an area that we love, and in a nicer flat.”

Shared Ownership makes home ownership affordable by reducing both the amount that home buyers need to have in savings to cover a deposit (as the deposit required will be based on the value of the share being bought as opposed to the full market value) and helps to keep monthly costs down.

A part buy, part rent option, Shared Ownership offers home buyers the opportunity to buy a share of between 25% and 75% of the value of a home (depending on what they can afford) with a mortgage and savings. A subsidised rent is paid on the remaining share owned by the housing association who built the home. The ‘bite-size’ mortgage, paired with a capped rent (rents are initially capped at a maximum of 3% and rise in line with inflation, keeping increases predictable) along with any service charges, normally amount to a monthly housing cost of approximately 20% less than it would cost to buy a similar home outright or rent privately.

Tom adds:

“It costs us less than we were paying in private rent and we are building up equity, and we have a more stable and permanent stake in our neighbourhood.”

Tom and Alberto bought a 25% share in their new, two bedroom apartment, and their monthly outgoings, including their mortgage, rent and service charge come to just over £1500 per month.

As well as jumping the hurdle of expense that deterred the couple from being able to buy privately elsewhere, Tom said that it was hard to beat the exceptional standard of their apartment at Reliance Wharf.

“The flat is amazing, more than we ever really expected to be able to afford in London, particularly in this location. It’s spacious with large windows, loads of natural light and outdoor space. Everything is spotless and new and any problems or queries you can call Metropolitan. Also, there’s no decorating, you just unpack and you’re near done! The flat feels like a giant toy when you first move in as you read the manuals and use everything for the very first time.”

And, of course, as with any home buyers, location was a key consideration for the couple:

“Our apartment at Reliance Wharf is incredibly central, within walking distance to so many places and it’s really scenic on the canal with the boats. It’s a short walk to Dalston where we used to live and where our friends are, but is also a short walk from Broadway Market, London Fields, Shoreditch, Hoxton and a 20 minute walk to Liverpool Street and Islington. I can walk to work at London Bridge in 45 minutes.” 

The homes at Reliance Wharf were built with a level three code for Sustainable Homes and Tom said they really noticed the difference offered by energy efficient homes.

“It’s amazingly efficient to heat and super-well insulated. The temperature only dropped two degrees over four hours with the heating off recently even though it was minus two outside.”

Looking forward to sunnier weather, Tom was also delighted with the outdoor space and amenities available as part of his new, canal-side lifestyle:

“Our private amenities are excellent with a balcony and terrace. There is a nice public courtyard that will be good in summer and we’re excited about the commercial space on the ground floor as there are plans for a cafe to open there eventually.”

And, as for the moving-in process, Tom enthuses:

“The experience of moving in at the same time as everyone else in the development is a buzz. As everyone is new, everyone is very friendly and you get to know your neighbours really quickly.”

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