The pandemic turned many people’s lives upside down, including Jonathan Kaye. He lost his restaurant job during the first wave of Covid-19 last spring, quit his “extortionately expensive” East London flat, and moved in with his mother and step-father in the Essex seaside town of Frinton-on-Sea to retrench and take stock.
“For the first time in a long time I had time to think, and I worked out that I was spending around £20,000-a-year on rent,” said Jonathan. “I promised myself that when I went back to London I would not go back into renting.”
“When I realised that you only needed a deposit of £5,000 it decided me,” he said. “If you are renting you need a deposit of around £3,000, so it really wasn’t that much different. I thought I could save up another grand-and-a-half and buy a flat instead.”
Jonathan had always lived in East London and wanted to stay local, but found the prices just too steep. So he began looking south of the river, where he found Greenwich Square (lqhomes.com), a development just east of Greenwich Park.
He had already managed to agree a mortgage in principle — despite having been on furlough at the start of the pandemic — and he reserved a £400,000, one bedroom flat in November.
In February officially became the owner of a 25 per cent share in the flat, putting down a £10,000 deposit – “being at home I managed to save a bit more than I thought” – and borrowing the other £90,000.
The rest of the property is still owned by the housing association, L&Q, and he pays rent on that, as well as service charge.
His total monthly spend comes in at around £1,300 – significantly less than the rent on his previous home, a one bedroom flat in Haggerston, which cost £1,700pcm.
Jonathan has also got a new job, running The Jolly Gardeners gastropub in Vauxhall, and life is looking good.
“I live in this perfect little village, and the flat is amazing,” he said. “It has got a little balcony, and it is a nice, safe, area. I can’t be kicked out of it, and I can make it my own. The feeling is unbeatable.”
There are some downsides to shared ownership, notably that if you only own a share of a property when you come to sell it you will only get that share of any profits.
Jonathan, however, isn’t worried. “I have only just bought the place, so I am really not thinking about what happens when I resell it,” he said.
“I feel very fortunate to have a London flat and shared ownership is just such an accessible way to get onto the property ladder, if you don’t have a £50,000 deposit.
“My idea is that I will increase my share every couple of years so that in ten or 12 years hopefully I will be able to call it my own.”