The latest First Time Buyer review by Halifax found that buyers are now having to pay, on average, £207,693 for their first home - a record price. What’s more, the average deposit in the South East is now over £50,000*. Increasingly prospective buyers are finding that their only option is to return to their family home and live cheaply - or rent free - in order to save for their deposit faster. Recent research by the specialist bank Aldermore has found that more than one in five first time buyers are now living with their parents in order to save for a deposit**.
Two years ago, Charlie London, 35, and his wife Jenny moved in to Charlie’s parents’ house near Maidstone in Kent after many years of renting. “It was a bit weird to go back at first, having lived out for so long” says Charlie, who works as a mortgage advisor. “But we were lucky because my parents have a decent sized house and they converted a room into a sort of lounge for us and we had an en-suite as well so we had enough of our own space.”
The move paid off in June when the couple bought their first house at Barratt Homes’ popular The Orchards development in the village of Allington, which lies on the edge of Maidstone. “If we hadn’t lived back with mum and dad, there’s no way we would have been able to afford our deposit and we’d definitely still be renting now” says Charlie.
The couple managed to save £15,000 and used the Government’s Help to Buy scheme to purchase a three-bedroom property.
In the future Charlie and Jenny are looking to start a family but for now they are just enjoying being homeowners. Charlie continues: “It’s really great to have our own space again. There’s nothing quite like coming home, taking the suit off, and chilling out with a beer in your own house. I had friends over for the first time last weekend and we all said exactly the same. It’s exceeded our expectations, we’re so pleased and happy.”
Comprising 98 private two to five-bedroom family homes, The Orchards combines traditional Kentish-style village exteriors with modern, contemporary and spacious interiors. Smart features include high levels of insulation, energy efficient boilers, low energy lighting, solar access and even bat and bird boxes in the garden, designed to ensure that each home is ecologically, environmentally and economically friendly.
Charlie continued: “We looked around a fair few properties and, for us, the quality of the build at the Orchards was a lot better than all the competitors. The furnishings and fixtures are really high end and you get a lot more space for your budget.
“We were also really impressed with the sales team. You genuinely felt they were happy to help. When they called us to say our plot had become available, you could tell that they were really pleased for us.”
Charlie originally planned to commute to London for work but an opportunity came up at an office nearer home and his commute is now just 20 minutes by car. The Orchards is within easy reach of the M20 and M25, putting Gatwick Airport, Dover Ferry Wharf and Ashford International station all under an hour away. Four train stations can be found within a 4.5-mile radius, including Maidstone Barracks, Maidstone East, Maidstone West and Barming, providing several different options for travel to London.
Natalie Perry, Director of Sales & Marketing at Barratt Kent, comments: “All the headlines tell us how tough it is for first time buyers to get their first foot on the property ladder but, as Charlie and Jenny have shown, it is still possible and there are many different ways to realise the dream. The Orchards provides exceptional family homes at affordable prices and the many special features help keep the cost of living low when you are moved in. With Help to Buy available on all properties, it may be easier than you think to purchase your first house and escape the nest for good.”
A small selection of four and five-bedroom homes currently remain for sale at The Orchards with prices starting from £492,995. To find out more about the last available properties, visit www.barratthomes.co.uk or call 0844 854 9935.
FACTS & FIGURES
Purchase price: £315,995
Deposit: 5% (£15,799)
Monthly mortgage payments: £850 a month
Service charge: £600 per year