Steve, a 34-year-old statistician, who lives with his partner Cleber, has lived in his shared ownership home for six years. Initially, he bought a 50 per cent share in the property, but is gradually increasing his share as and when he can afford to, which is called ‘staircasing’.
Before he bought the flat, in Tulse Hill, south London, Steve had been sharing a rented flat in Stockwell. He had looked into buying on the open market, but found that the only property he could afford at the time was a studio flat quite far from central London.
“A friend told me about part-buy, part-rent, so I looked into it,” he says. “I signed up with MHO, and I remember it being a very easy process. I just had to fill in a form, and then I was on their database and could start looking at the properties they had available.”
Steve was keen to stay in south London, near Brockwell Park. He liked the area and it was convenient for work. So when a two-bedroom garden flat came up, he went for a viewing and knew straight away it was the right one for him.
“The full value of the flat was £155,000, and I bought a 50% share,” says Steve. “Once I’d chosen the flat, it took just three months for everything to be sorted. MHO helped me through the process, and it moved really quickly, without any hitches.”
Steve had always intended to increase his ownership of the property, and he did that earlier this year, buying another 25% so that he now owns 75% of the property, and continues to pay rent on the remainder.
“My idea was to gradually buy more, so that eventually I would own it outright,” he says. “Before I bought the extra 25%, I was paying about £570 a month on the mortgage, and £260 on the rent. I managed to get quite a good mortgage deal when I increased my share, so in fact I’m still paying a similar amount, but with the benefit of knowing I own more of it.”
Steve plans to buy the rest of the flat within three to five years, and might then move on eventually. For now, though, he is happy to continue staying in the property.
“It’s certainly helped me get on the property ladder,” he says. “It’s a nice flat which I couldn’t have afforded before, and even now I’d still be limited to a modest flat in a less desirable area. This has given me a good place to live, and I’ve been able to invest in my own property for the past six years rather than continuing to rent.”