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First time buyer: ‘Help to Buy has turned my dream into reality’

Hot deal: Lisa can’t
wait to move into
Vanburgh Court,

PEOPLE who once derided Slough’s lack of glamour are now sitting up and taking notice. Perched on the M4, it’s benefiting from ongoing regeneration and is a major business hub with excellent road and rail links.

It also offers keenly priced housing and regularly pops up on lists of commuter/investment hotspots. So when financial assistant Lisa Thornicroft — who already works in the town — took the decision to stop renting and find a place of her own, she felt that it was a safe bet to buy there, too.

Lisa wanted a home that would suit her current lifestyle while being a sound investment for the future. She was attracted to Vanburgh Court, a centrally located development by Mackenzie Homes.

When she saw that Help to Buy was available, she was quick to reserve a home off-plan.

‘As I already work in Slough, I know the area well,’ says 26-year-old Lisa.

‘There’s so much happening in the town. With things like Crossrail in the pipeline and so many new and improved leisure facilities, it really feels like it’s on the up — which gives me confidence that I’m making a good investment.

‘I’ll be near work, able to walk into the town centre at weekends and close to the station too — it’s just what I was looking for.’

Lisa paid £210,000 for her studio apartment, and with a boost from a Help to Buy equity loan, her monthly mortgage payments will be very affordable.

The government-backed scheme lends up to 20 per cent of the cost price (40 per cent in London), allowing purchasers to own 100 per cent of their home with just a five per cent deposit and a 75 per cent mortgage making up the rest. There’s no interest for the first five years and the loan is repaid out of the proceeds when the property’s sold.

Currently available to home movers and first time buyers on selected newbuilds costing up to £600,000, Help to Buy will be changed from April 2021 (it will only be offered to people who haven’t previously owned a property and regional price caps will be introduced).

The scheme made a real difference to Lisa, who’s now counting down the days until she moves in.

‘Help to Buy has proved a lifeline and has enabled me to turn my hopes of owning my first home into a reality.

‘To be able to access this financial assistance means I can finally move out of rented accommodation and into a property of my very own. I’ve also been able to secure a furniture package, which means I don’t even have to worry about spending additional time and money furnishing my new home as it will all be done for me — I just can’t wait to move in.’

Vanburgh Court is a collection of high-spec studio, one and two-bedroom apartments with fully fitted kitchens and sleek contemporary bathrooms.

Just 200 metres from Slough’s forthcoming Crossrail station and a short stroll from the improving high street, the first phase has now sold out.

Phase two consists of 79 one and two-bed homes, due to be completed this summer. Homes start from £254,950 and Help to Buy is available.

Do the maths

Purchase price: £254,950

5% deposit: £12,747

20% Help to Buy loan: £50,990

Estimated monthly mortgage: £877

Service charge: £116

Total monthly spend: £993

Great opportunities… Three more help to buy homes

■ Gardiners Park Village, Basildon SS14, from £315,000. Freshly launched, these two and three-bed houses include built-in wardrobes and ensuite bathrooms.

■ Roehampton Lofts, SW15, from £575,000. Six split-level apartments, featuring larch-clad exteriors, zinc roofs and open-plan living spaces.

■ Lovell House, Uxbridge, UB8, from £249,995. The final phase of these studio and one-bed apartments feature granite worktops and hotel-style bathrooms.