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According to new research from the Mortgage Advice Bureau, the average property deposit this year has risen to a whopping £72,000 . With house price rises regularly outstripping the increase in wages, potential first time buyers face a daunting first step on the ladder.

Recent relaxation to Shared Ownership criteria means more aspiring homeowners like receptionist Caroline and her fiancé Alex, a 22 year old construction worker, can open the door to owning their own home.

Despite saving for over four years, they still weren’t close to the deposit they needed to get onto the ladder. When they discovered shared ownership at Guinness’ Wellington Park development in Waterlooville, just two miles from where they were renting in Portsmouth, all the pieces very quickly fell in to place.

20-year-old Caroline explains: “I’d been saving ever since I started working at 16, as I always knew that I wanted to get onto the property ladder as soon as I could - it’s a good investment. Alex and I were renting together for a few months, but it felt like a waste of money.

We’d been working with a local mortgage broker for quite a while trying to assess how much we could afford, and he suggested shared ownership to us. Neither of us had heard of it before, but when we talked about it, it made great sense.

“The same day we discovered Wellington Park, a new development in Waterlooville just a couple of miles from where we were renting, and decided to take a look. We drove up, took one look around and instantly fell in love. After that it all happened pretty quickly, and we completed on our purchase within a month!”

Caroline and Alex purchased a 35% share in their two bedroom apartment at Wellington Park. At full market value, the apartment is worth £167,000 – but with shared ownership they only needed £58,450.

Caroline continues: “We found the whole process really simple and Guinness were so helpful throughout. Everyone was so quick at getting back to us when we had any questions and went the extra mile to help the purchase go smoothly.”

“Even with service charge, our monthly payments are quite a lot cheaper than when we were renting, reduced from £450 a month to just over £300! As a result we can save more, and will definitely be looking to staircase. We see the shared ownership scheme as our way on to the ladder, and it has set us on our way to eventually buy a family home for the future. Now we’ve got the home buying out of the way, we can settle down together in our new home, and focus on organising the wedding!”

Wellington Park is a new development on the outskirts of Waterlooville, surrounded by stunning Hampshire countryside. Cowslip Court is an exclusive collection of just 10 two bedroom apartments for sale with shared ownership, providing an opportunity to own a brand new, affordable home.

The apartments are designed to a high quality, modern specification with flexible living spaces. The open plan living / kitchen and dining rooms are fitted with a range of units and stainless steel appliances including a gas hob and electric oven. Both bedrooms are spacious, with fitted wardrobes to the master bedrooms. Bathrooms are complete with contemporary white sanitaryware and wall tiling.

Help to Buy: Shared Ownership means buyers can purchase between 25% and 75% of the property, paying a reduced rent on the remainder.  They can increase their share at any time, all the way up to 100% and outright ownership.

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