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First Time Buyer: Help to Buy has made this south Londoner’s dream come true

Double whammy: Chris
cut his commute by
moving to Anerley’s Venue

AFTER years of renting and watching many of his friends buy their first home, Chris Bell is over the moon to have achieved his ambition of getting onto the property ladder. Last September, he got the keys to the door of a three-bed apartment at Fairview New Homes’ Venue development in Anerley and hasn’t looked back.

Until then, Chris, who’s 27 and a senior sales manager in King’s Cross, had been sharing with friends in Balham but yearned for a place to call his own.

Despite saving cash in a Help to Buy ISA — a government initiative which boosts savings by 25 per cent and is being replaced by a Lifetime ISA — he thought that home ownership was beyond his reach. Finding himself priced out of buying in or close to Balham, he turned his attention to SE20, and was impressed by Venue’s roomy apartments and convenience for trains into London.

‘When I started my search, location was the prime factor and it wasn’t until a housemate moved to Crystal Palace that I found that it would also be a great option for me,’ explains Chris.

‘Anerley has its own distinctive characteristics, with lots of bars and restaurants, both on the doorstep and in nearby areas. I’ve really enjoyed exploring it and found a good sense of community which I haven’t seen in other London suburbs.’

He admits that he’d still be renting without assistance from the London Help to Buy scheme, which loans up to 40 per cent of the purchase price to buyers with a minimum five per cent cash deposit. Offered on selected new builds costing £600,000 or less, it’s interest-free for five years and means that buyers only require a 55 per cent mortgage, keeping monthly payments manageable. Outside London, the maximum loan is 20 per cent, though changes are coming and regional price caps will be introduced from April 2021.

‘Like many first-time buyers I know, I couldn’t afford to get on to the property ladder without the Help to Buy scheme,’ continues Chris. ‘Paying a smaller deposit and having the reduced mortgage was a huge help to me and I’d recommend the scheme to others.

‘I’ve settled in really well here and I’ve even suggested that an old housemate in Balham gives the development a look. Fairview’s sales team was fantastic, everything went very smoothly with my move and I was in my new home three-and-a-half weeks after reserving. And with Venue being located just a couple of minutes’ walk from the station, I’ve managed to cut my commute as well as buying my own home. It’s the best of both worlds.’

Venue is collection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, only a few minutes from trendy Crystal Palace Triangle. Kitchens are fitted with white gloss kitchen units, contrasting dark worktops and integrated appliances, bathrooms are fully tiled and there’s allocated parking.

Prices range from £368,000 to £520,000 and London Help to Buy is available,

Do the maths

Purchase price: £368,000

5% deposit: £18,400

20% Help to Buy loan: £147,200

Mortgage: £888 pcm

Service charge: £142 pcm

Total monthly spend: £1,030

Putting on a show… Find out more about first-time homes

Croyden property show

Following the success of the inaugural Croydon Property Show in September, another is being held this Saturday. Aimed at first-time buyers and others interested in purchasing in the borough, it will feature key housing providers, financial experts and representatives on hand to answer questions, deliver seminars and showcase private and affordable homes, plus everything else that the area has to offer. From 10am-4pm on Saturday at the Croydon Park Hotel, 7 Altyre Road, CR9 5AA. Book your free ticket at

Bellway homebuyers event

At its latest Homebuyers event in Greenwich this Friday and Saturday, housebuilder Bellway is releasing up to 1,000 new homes for sale across London and the South East, including seven site launches. Independent financial advisers and solicitors will be available, and visitors will be guided through Help to Buy and London Help to Buy applications. Discounts are on offer and the housebuilder is giving away £1,000 in Ikea vouchers with every home sold at the event. From noon-7pm on Friday and from 10am-5pm on Saturday, on the second floor of the InterContinental O2 Hotel, 1 Waterview Drive, London. SE10 0TW. You can register for the event at