£140,000 new four-bed house is a fantastic buy for Andover ‘shared ownership’ couple

Thanks to shared ownership, first-time buyers Rebecca and Alex Reid – and their cat Garfield – have bought their four-bedroom ‘forever home’ for just £140,000 from affordable housing provider Stonewater at the Augusta Park development in Andover.

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23- and 24-year-old Rebecca and her husband Alex had planned to live in their rented three-bedroom semi-detached home in Andover for at least three years when their plans fell through earlier this year.

“We were contacted in May and were told that our landlord wanted to sell the property at the end of our tenancy in August,” explains Rebecca. “Instead of continuing to rent, we decided to look into buying our own house because the mortgage repayments were likely to be less than the rent we were paying.

“But we were only viable to be lent around £200,000 for a property because of our income on paper. We couldn’t believe it. We had consistently been paying over £1,000 per month for our rent, so we could definitely afford a higher mortgage than what they were offering. We couldn’t find anything bigger than a two-bed for this amount of money. As we had been living in a three-bedroom property for a couple of years, we weren’t going to be able to downsize comfortably.

“This is when we started to look at shared ownership. We saw advertisements for it in the Saxon Heights area, googled it, and found a photo of our new home on Stonewater’s site. As soon as we saw it, we knew we had to have it!”

A low-cost route into homeownership
Shared ownership is a part-buy, part-rent scheme which aims to help more people like Rebecca and Alex onto the property ladder. Through shared ownership, buyers can purchase from a 40 per cent to 75 per cent share of their new home and pay a reduced rent on the remainder. As their circumstances change, they can choose to ‘staircase’ their owned percentage until in many cases they own their home outright.

Rebecca and Alex paid just £140,000 for a 50% share of their new four-bedroom home which on the open market would have cost £280,000. In the future, they hope to increase their share to 100%.

“Stonewater has been so helpful through this move,” says Rebecca. “We obviously had a tight deadline because of our tenancy ending. Once Stonewater were aware of this, they liaised heavily with the developers, Taylor Wimpey, to negotiate earlier completion and handover dates to make sure we weren’t made homeless. Within just 15 weeks we had moved in.

“We love our new home. It’s got a large front room, a large master bedroom with a built-in cupboard, a second bedroom on the first floor – which we have used as a home for our five, very pampered guinea pigs! On the top floor, there is a large double-sized guest room and a study with a lovely velux window. My absolute favourite part of our new home is the lovely bath Stonewater chose for the upstairs bathroom – it’s a real treat.”

Rebecca adds: “I would definitely encourage anyone who wants a forever home – not one that they’ll have to sell again in three years because it wasn’t the right move, or one that was a compromise due to a lack of funds – to take the opportunity that shared ownership offers. I would never have dreamed this time last year that we would own a part of a four-bed property, and yet, thanks to Stonewater, here we are!”