Saving a suitably sized deposit for a first home is still one of the biggest barriers first-time buyers face in the UK. So much so that more than 51,000 property hunters have decided to book a temporary stay at the ‘Hotel of Mum and Dad’ in order to save for a deposit. For 32-year-old Louisa Mulford, taking the admirable decision to end her rental tenancy and move back in with her parents during lockdown, meant she was able to save the required deposit she needed to buy her first property for her and her 8-year-old son. By utilising the Shared Ownership scheme with St. Arthur Homes, Louisa has moved into a stylish two-bedroom apartment at the superb waterside development Chapel Riverside in Southampton.
Having lived in Southampton all her life, Louisa explains what led to her making the decision to move out of her rental property and back in with her parents: “I was renting an older two-bedroom first-floor maisonette locally. I always had the plan in mind to buy my own property, however it was becoming almost impossible to save money for a deposit while paying to rent somewhere. So, I made the bitter sweet decision to end my tenancy and move back in with my parents. By doing this I knew it would give me the opportunity to really buckle down and save as much money as I could - 14 months later I had saved enough to put a deposit down on a Shared Ownership property at Chapel Riverside with St. Arthur Homes.”
Explaining why she decided to use Shared Ownership to buy her first property, Louisa explains: “Like everyone the ideal would be to buy a property on the open market, but this just wouldn’t be something I would be able to afford. I had also looked into using Help to Buy however it wasn’t a viable option for me and I also felt that the properties in this area that are available with Help to Buy tend to come with a slight premium. Initially I was a little resistant to the idea of Shared Ownership, so I decided to look into a bit more and soon realised it would be a great way to get on the ladder. I am very happy I made that choice to go ahead and would certainly recommend it to anyone who is struggling to buy a property and maybe thinks buying somewhere is out of reach or is unsure about Shared Ownership.”
Louisa continues: “I was able to purchase a 30% share in a two-bedroom first-floor apartment that has a private balcony I can access from my living area and I also have my own parking space outside the apartment building. The full market value was £230,000 and I put down a deposit of £16,000.
I would say that in comparison to renting I am probably paying about the same but I have been able to buy my first home for me and my son which was important to me. I originally found Chapel Riverside on Rightmove and Zoopla where I had made enquiries and was introduced to St. Arthur Homes. I arranged to view by myself initially, the development was still under quite a bit of construction and the apartment I saw wasn’t quite finished. I arranged to view a second time with my son and we got to see the show apartment. This was great as it gave me a really good idea of the finished product and also some inspiration for décor and furniture. I’m really impressed with the specification, the layout is well planned and spacious, and I love my bathroom – it feels like a luxury hotel-style one!”
“It’s been an exciting time for my son, he is really enjoying having a bigger bedroom and he is looking forward to having his friends over to stay when we are allowed. We are lucky that we have plenty of friends and family that live locally, my sister lives in Portugal so we might be able to see her at some point soon. Having lived in this area all my life, it’s been nice to see how the local area has changed over the years, and it’s a bonus to work locally too at Solent University. We have lots of green space nearby, and the waterside is lovely to have close by. My son’s school is an easy trip, just a 15-minute drive away. There are some great water activities nearby which I will look into this summer; my son would really enjoy that. We also have two parks within a 20-minute walk, Mayflower Park is a lovely waterfront park overlooking the River Test, and Central Parks in the city centre have a nice playground and skate park too. We can also easily walk to the nearby marina and to the river shore.”
Having made the conscious decision to move in with her parents, the Coronavirus pandemic wasn’t something Louisa foresaw: “I moved into my apartment in February this year, so me and my son were living with my parents for the whole of lockdown. It certainly had its tricky moments, and we all found it a bit intense at times, however it worked out really well in the sense that we were all together when many other people didn’t have that option, and as grandparents they got to see my son every day too.”
Speaking about her future plans, Louisa continues: “Whilst Shared Ownership has given me the opportunity to buy my first property, I would eventually like to move into a bigger property with my own garden, but I wouldn’t rule out staircasing my share in this apartment as it would still be an investment for my future. I’m really enjoying living here, and looking forward to things opening up again and be able to visit the marina. I can’t wait to have my family and friends over for dinner so they can see my lovely new home.”
Comprising a contemporary collection of one and two bedroom apartments, Chapel Riverside offers an exciting opportunity for buyers looking to step onto the property ladder in a great location. All homes at Chapel Riverside are ready to move into, each property has been given careful consideration, and successfully delivers both flexible and spacious layouts with a high-quality specification. The open-plan living/kitchen/dining area offers a versatile space for relaxing, dining or working from home and also features direct access onto a generous private balcony. Floor to ceiling height windows create an impressive sense of space, flooding each room with light and bespoke kitchens are sleek in design and come complete with a full range of integrated appliances. Ideal for buyers keen to keep their household bills low, energy efficient features such as underfloor heating operated via a smartphone or tablet and energy efficient boilers are included as standard. All apartments also benefit from an allocated parking space.
Great travel connections from Chapel Riverside make life easy for residents. By road the M27 is just three miles away, and Portsmouth, Winchester, Salisbury and Bournemouth are all within easy reach. By rail, Southampton Central station provides connections all over the UK including London in around one hour 15 minutes, while Southampton airport is just four miles away.
Prices for one of the 6 remaining Shared Ownership homes at Chapel Riverside start from £95,000 for a 50% share of a one-bedroom apartment valued at £190,000. For further information visit Chapel Riverside or call 020 7224 3066.