London first-time buyers: ‘I moved in with my parents and used Help to Buy for my Barking home’

·2-min read
 (PR handout)
(PR handout)

After years of renting flats in east London, Chantelle Joseph realised that she was going to need to take drastic action to get on to the property ladder.

Two years ago she gave notice on her £1,000pcm apartment in Canning Town and moved back in with her parents, who live in East Ham.

This gave Joseph, an assistant head teacher at a secondary school, the chance to save seriously, particularly when the pandemic began and normal life ground to a halt.

The good news is that in March, she and her son, Leo, who is nine, were finally able to move into the first home of their own, a two-bedroom flat at the Fresh Wharf development in Barking.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I’d not gone home to save up,” said Joseph, 38.

Even with two years of savings behind her, Joseph couldn’t afford to buy completely unassisted and opted to use the Help to Buy scheme, which allows first-time buyers to put down a five per cent deposit and take a government loan of up to 40 per cent of the total value of their property.

“I’ve worked hard all my life and still had to get help at 38 years of age, but I’m so happy to have finally made my first step on the property ladder,” said Joseph.

Two-bedroom flats at Fresh Wharf, a 900-plus home development beside the River Roding, currently start at £420,000. Joseph’s mortgage repayments plus service charges are less than her Canning Town rent.

Its important to point out, however, that in five years’ time that will change when she has to start making interest payments on the government loan.

For now, though, Joseph is not only better off but loving settling into her own home. “My son’s face when he saw his room was worth everything — he absolutely loves it,” she said.

Joseph was one of the very first tranche of residents to move into Fresh Wharf in spring, which means that building work is still going on around her.

But it is close to her parents’ home and work, half a mile from Barking station, and when completed the site will include shops, restaurants and open space.

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