Shared ownership helps Whitefield family escape one-bedroom flatNovember 6, 2020 | Dan Todd
After spending years cooped up in a one-bedroom flat, a family of four from Whitefield have finally found the space they need thanks to shared ownership.
Kristian, 30, and his fiancé Gillian, 39, were already struggling to manage in the small apartment they regularly shared with three-year-old Amelia, Kristian’s daughter from a previous relationship. Then with the arrival of their own daughter, Myla-Rae, last October, they knew it was definitely time to find somewhere bigger.
Quality control manager Kristian said: “It was extremely challenging being in such close proximity to each other. We were all sleeping in the one bedroom. We had our double bed, with the cot on one side and Amelia sleeping on a blow-up bed on the floor.
“We always had plans to find a house to rent, but then when Myla-Rae arrived that’s when we really started to step up our search.”
However, when Kristian and Gillian, a legal PA, began looking for a three or four-bedroom home to rent, they struggled to find anything that was affordable in Whitefield, an area that they’ve lived in for many years.
Kristian said: “We were looking to rent around Whitefield but found we were actually getting priced out of the area. The more affordable houses were around Radcliffe and further into Bury, but we didn’t want to leave here.”
Fortunately, Kristian stumbled upon Elizabethan Terrace, a new development of two and three-bedroom houses for shared ownership just down the road from where they were living. The homes were being built by Onward Living, which by coincidence was the sales arm of Onward Homes, the housing association they were already renting with.
“I noticed that they were knocking down the Elizabethan pub near us to make way for houses,” said Kristian. “As soon as the plans came through I literally rang up that day and got the ball rolling.”
After contacting Onward Living to find out more about shared ownership and how it works, Kristian and Gillian were surprised to discover that they could afford to buy a home of their own instead of renting.
Kristian said: “We honestly never thought that we would be able to buy. We didn’t know anything about shared ownership and didn’t really understand how it worked until we read into it. As soon as we saw that we could do it we said ‘let’s go for it’.”
Kristian and Gillian were the first people to reserve a plot at Elizabethan Terrace, putting down a deposit of just over £5,000 for a 55% share in their three-bedroom family home.
After a slight delay caused by the national lockdown in March, Kristian and his family finally moved into their brand-new home at the end of August. And they couldn’t be happier with their spacious new place.
“It feels absolutely massive,” said Kristian. “We’ve got a nice big lounge and a big kitchen. It’s great that everyone now has their own bedroom, and we can all enjoy our own privacy.
“But the best bit about the house is the garden. As soon as the plans came out for the properties we both wanted to go for this plot because it had the biggest garden on the development. I can’t believe just how big it actually is!”
As well as helping Kristian and Gillian onto the property ladder, shared ownership has also allowed them to stay in the area where they’ve already laid down roots.
“The area is ideal,” said Gillian. “We were only two minutes up the road and used to walk past the development every day.
“We’ve been able to stay in the area and stay close to all our friends and family, which is important especially when you’ve got young children.”
It should have been a double celebration for Kristian and Gillian, with the pair due to get married last September. However, COVID-19 meant they have had to put their plans on hold.
Kristian said: “We’re now looking to set a new date in February. Fingers crossed, we’ll be allowed a couple of guests by then.”
For now, Kristian and Gillian are happy to be in their new home, and they would recommend shared ownership to others who are looking to take the next step into homeownership.
“We thought we’d be renting for the rest of our lives, until we found out about shared ownership.
“Renting privately in the area we are in now, you’re talking around £700 to £750 a month, which is dead money. But we’ve got our own house and our own space for much less.”
If Kristian and Gillian’s story has inspired you to find out more about shared ownership, contact the Onward Living sales team on 0151 708 2421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org