From colleagues, to friends, to joint homeowners
Content producers Danielle and Joe first met through work in 2021, at a production company based in Shoreditch. Having both grown up in West and East London, respectively, the pair were aware of how competitive the property market in the capital could be as a single buyer.
Faced with asking prices and equivalent asking rents which were rising three times faster compared with pre-pandemic years,* for Danielle, the financial requirements of buying alone was an impossible prospect.
She explains, “having grown up in London, I knew that it was where I wanted to put down permanent roots, so that I could be close to friends and family as well as near to where my job is based. However, on my single income, I just could not meet the financial requirements for properties on the open market.
Joe was in a similar position, and so we spoke about pooling our money and looking at alternative homeownership schemes, so that we could both get onto the property ladder. We had only known each other for 9 months, so it was a big move to go from working together and friends to then buying somewhere together, but we had both been living at home with our parents, so it was definitely time!”
Starting their property hunt in January 2022, Danielle and Joe used property portals such as RightMove and Zoopla to search for newbuild developments within their budget, in their desired East London location.
“We saw some developments on the open market which were within budget, but they were horrible!” says Joe, “otherwise, the properties we liked just weren’t affordable, even though we had both been living at home to save for deposits. However, about a month into our search we started seeing adverts for Shared Ownership, a scheme for first-time buyers that would allow us to buy together with a lower deposit – it looked like the perfect option for us!”
Meeting their search criteria of a modern newbuild two-bedroom apartment in a well-connected East London location with an on-site gym, Danielle and Joe discovered L&Q at The Silk District, a brand-new development in Whitechapel with homes available through Shared Ownership.
Together Danielle and Joe bought a 35% share of a two-bedroom Shared Ownership apartment at L&Q at The Silk District (Full Market Value: £567,500).
Speaking about the place they now both call home, Danielle comments, “We knew that L&Q at The Silk District was for us straight away. The great thing was that the two-bedroom apartments had one large bathroom and equal sized bedrooms, which was important to us as sharers. We had been struggling to find any newbuilds that would offer us as much space, and we would also get our own private outdoor area which was a priority.
We now think we have the best balcony in the development! We have a large L-shaped sofa with an outdoor rug and plants, which has been fantastic during the summer months as an extra living space.”
Since moving to Whitechapel in May, Joe explains why the move has suited both himself and Danielle so well. “Having lived in East London for most of my life, I’ve seen Whitechapel developing into a vibrant and fun neighbourhood. The development is just a five-minute walk to Whitechapel station, and you can walk into central London in just 30 minutes and to Brick Lane in 10 minutes. The location really sold it to us – and understandably so, when on top of incredible transport connections we can walk to work in just 27 minutes.”
Reflecting on their experience as Shared Ownership buyers, Danielle says, “I honestly could not have done it on my own, both from a financial perspective and as a first-time buyer! L&Q were really good at answering our questions and supporting us throughout the process. There were times when the financial advisors were quite slow, and L&Q would follow up with them on our behalf – thanks to them, our buying journey took just 4 months!”
Joe adds, “It’s great that Shared Ownership enables you to purchase a home as sharers. Danielle and I were both fed up with feeling priced out of London, the city where we had both grown up, so we were thrilled when we learnt that we could get onto the property ladder with a combined deposit through a scheme designed for first-time buyers. We’re both young, and it’s a fantastic investment for our future.”