Op­por­tu­ni­ties to own a new home in­crease as more builders sign up to Help to Buy, says Ruth Bloom­field

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Front Page -

HOME own­er­ship con­tin­ues to burn in the hearts of young Lon­don­ers, ir­re­spec­tive of the dif­fi­cul­ties. Of all the ob­sta­cles to achiev­ing this dream, the most daunt­ing is scrap­ing to­gether the de­posit.

The av­er­age first-time de­posit in the cap­i­tal now stands at close to £90,000 — a sum few can find with­out a se­ri­ous cash in­jec­tion, of­ten from par­ents.

The in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar so­lu­tion is Help to Buy Lon­don, a scheme that slashes the de­posit re­quired. Buy­ers need a min­i­mum five per cent de­posit in cash, a mort­gage to cover 55 per cent of the cost of the prop­erty and the state makes up the dif­fer­ence with a 40 per cent loan, in­ter­est free for the first five years. The eq­uity loan is for 25 years max, or be­fore if the prop­erty is sold or the mort­gage is re­deemed.

You get six months to ar­range the mort­gage once Help to Buy has been agreed, which could be a prob­lem if you aim to buy off-plan. Here’s where to look for a new home that you can com­plete on within the six-months win­dow.


More than half of Crys­tal Palace homes are now sold to first-time buy­ers, as the area emerges as one of the most pop­u­lar among new­bies, a study by Hamp­tons In­ter­na­tional re­veals. Trans­port is key — trains to Vic­to­ria, Lon­don Bridge and Black­fri­ars all take about half an hour and the East Lon­don line links Crys­tal Palace to Ca­nary Wharf.

Then there is the park dot­ted with his­toric di­nosaur sculp­tures, plus good bars, restau­rants and shops. Crys­tal Palace also has a real com­mu­nity vibe. Lo­cals or­gan­ise a pop­u­lar food mar­ket, film and fam­ily fes­ti­vals, and seem to take a real pride in their area.

Alto in Crys­tal Palace was launched last month by sell­ing agent Kin­leigh Folkard & Hay­ward. This scheme of fewer than 50 homes is on Syl­van Hill, a leafy walk of less than a mile to the sta­tion and shops. One-bed­room flats of 612sq ft start at £417,500, so a five per cent de­posit is just over £20,000. Twobed­room flats of 834sq ft start at £499,950, so five per cent is just un­der £25,000. As is of­ten the case with smaller de­vel­op­ments with no “ex­tras”, ser­vice charge is rel­a­tively low, from £111 a month for one-bed­room flats, and £151 for two-bed­room prop­er­ties. Leases are 250 years. Visit


Af­ter some­thing a bit more cen­tral? Bermondsey Works could be a great op­tion, even though it is ac­tu­ally a cou­ple of miles from Bermondsey Street it­self. Tech­ni­cally in Peck­ham, and just north of the Old Kent Road, this area is at­tract­ing in­creas­ing de­vel­oper in­ter­est. The near­est sta­tion is South Bermondsey, with ser­vices to Lon­don Bridge in just eight min­utes — ideal for work in the city and for nightlife, since this swathe of Lon­don is some­what light on en­ter­tain­ment or in­ter­est­ing shops. How­ever, the wilds of Burgess Park are a 15-minute walk away, so green space is taken care of.

Two-bed­room flats of 764sq ft at Bermondsey Works start at £517,500, mak­ing five per cent de­posit £25,875. The flats are be­ing sold on 999-year leases, and ser­vice charge for a two-bed­room flat is just over £200 a month.


Close to the Thames and Deptford Park, Green­land Place in SE8 is about a mile from the heart of Deptford but handy for Sur­rey Quays sta­tion in Zone 2, which, thanks to the East Lon­don line, is great for Ca­nary Wharf staff.

Green­land Place is named for Green­land Dock, once the heart of Lon­don’s ship­ping in­dus­try and now home to the Sur­rey Docks Fit­ness and Wa­ter­sports Cen­tre. So you can learn to kayak, but this still-re­gen­er­at­ing area is light on cafés, shops and nightlife.

Green­land Place has a fit­ness suite and café on site though, and Deptford, Bermondsey, and Ca­nary Wharf are nearby. Two-bed­room flats, from 764sq ft, in the cen­tre­piece Malmo Tower start at £584,000, so a five per cent de­posit is just over £29,000. There’s a 999-year lease and ser­vice charge is about £214 a month. Visit bar­rat­t­lon­­land­place for more.


Award-win­ning Brentford Lock West (brent­ford­lock­ be­side the Grand Union Canal, is a stroll from Syon Park and the banks of the Thames, though Brentford’s traf­fic-clogged High Street is heavy on dis­count su­per­mar­kets and take­aways. Back in the plus col­umn, this is a good-look­ing de­vel­op­ment. The cur­rent phase, Chal­ico Walk, is a se­ries of pavil­ions with a saw-tooth roofline that echoes the nearby wharfs. The near­est sta­tion is Brentford in Zone 4, a half-mile walk away, with ser­vices to Water­loo in just over half an hour.

One-bed­room flats of 630sq ft start at £412,500, so the min­i­mum five per cent de­posit is just over £20,000. Ser­vice charge is about £115 a month. Two-bed­room flats of 861sq ft start at £565,000, with a min­i­mum de­posit of £28,250 and £158 monthly ser­vice charge. The homes are sold with 250 year leases.

From £517,500: two-bed­room Bermondsey Works flats re­quire £25,875 de­posit un­der Help to Buy Lon­don

From £584,000: two-bed­room apart­ments at Green­land Place in Deptford, above. Buy­ers need to find five per cent de­posit of £29,200 with Help to Buy Lon­don

From £417,500: one-bed­room flats at Alto in Crys­tal Palace, re­quir­ing five per cent de­posit of just over £20,000 un­der Help to Buy Lon­don

High life: above, Alto in Crys­tal Palace. With a busy com­mu­nity, the area is one of Lon­don’s most pop­u­lar among first-time buy­ers

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