Hannah Foster and partner Jack Bradford, who are both 23, had always shared the dream of outright homeownership. Ironically then, it is thanks to shared ownership with Orbit Homes and the opportunity to increase the owned portion of their home through staircasing, that the young couple are already far closer to achieving their goal than they thought was possible. Along with their newest family member, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel called Millie, Hannah and Jack are now happy residents at Orbit’s Barton Place development near Burton-Upon-Trent
The couple met two years ago, when Hannah, keen to save money towards buying her own place, started a second job waitressing part-time at the restaurant where Jack is a chef. When they eventually got together, they were keen to pool their resources to buy their own home as quickly as possible.
Hannah and Jack believed they would have to rent a place to live and try to save for their own home for several years, but were very happy to discover that shared ownership at Barton Place was much more affordable than they thought. Hannah explains that she was searching for available properties, when she spotted an advert for Barton Place, and why it particularly caught her eye, “It said there were houses for sale, in the area we wanted, with shares available from as little as £78k for 40%. Initially, I said, ‘That’s impossible!’, but when I looked into it further, it turned out that we really could afford to buy 50% of a brand new house, and get help from the Government to pay a subsidised rent on the rest.”
Hannah, who is now an estate agent, continues, “Thanks to my job, I was aware of shared ownership as a way to get on the property ladder, but I had no idea that you could buy more shares of your home as your income increased, up to 100% ownership. I mistakenly thought that, once you bought a given share of a property, you were limited to being a part-owner forever.”
For the time being, however, until their overall household income increases, buying an initial 50% share of their home suits the couple perfectly. Before they found out more about shared ownership, the likelihood of living in their own home – instead of with their parents – and there being any money left to spare, seemed very remote. “When we were looking for a place to rent, anything halfway decent was at least £650 a month,” observes Hannah, “but we are paying less than half that for our mortgage, with a top-up rent that is far less than it would be on the open market, and we live in a gorgeous two bedroom house, with huge rooms, in a great location.”
The Barton Place development, where Hannah and Jack have made their home, is set in the pretty Staffordshire village of Barton-under-Needwood, and offers the perfect blend of peace and quiet, with entertainment on the doorstep, which the couple were hoping for. As well as a traditional high street, with independent shops and country pubs, they are living just a pleasant dog walk from the acclaimed Barton Marina, with its lively boating scene, multiplex cinema, restaurants and bars.
Further two and three bedroom houses for shared ownership at Barton Place will be available in June 2017, with nearby developments at Tutbury and Tamworth also offering shared ownership properties from July.