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First Time Buyer: Stamp duty relief comes at perfect time for this City worker

HEADING south of the river has proved to be a canny move for Savina Rakha, 31, as it has enabled her to get on to the property ladder whilst also shortening her commute into the City. After renting in Hammersmith, she’s bought a one-bed apartment off plan at Strawberry’s Star’s Bronze development in Wandsworth and is counting down the days until she moves in.

‘Wandsworth is extremely well connected, and I thought I would have to move so much further away from central London in order to get on to the ladder,’ says Savina (below), who works in financial services. Armed with the deposit she had been saving up for the past few years, she started her property search in Hammersmith and the surrounding area, then decided to hop across the Thames to the next borough, which offered much better value and plenty of green space.

‘Although I liked Hammersmith, Wandsworth has a lot more to offer at a better price. I saved for the deposit by being careful and budgeting well and I’ve waited to find the right home,’ she explains.

Bronze age: Wandworth’s Bronze development boasts 77 homes

‘With the park just across the road from the development, I can’t wait to make the most of the outdoors in a less busy area than I am used to. When I realised I could get more for my money by moving a short distance across the river, it made total sense to secure my apartment as soon as I could.

‘Bronze really caught my eye because of the striking design inside and out. I’m looking forward to enjoying the view across the city and the rooftop garden.

‘It’s been great to watch it being built and I have had no doubts about purchasing my home off plan, especially as I’ve been able to visit and see the progress first-hand.

‘The team at Strawberry Star have guided me through the process and put me at ease.’

As a first-time buyer, Savina was already eligible for reduced stamp duty but, following the chancellor’s spring statement, she’ll now have none to pay. ‘Stamp duty relief has come at just the right time for me as I’m due to move into my apartment in September and I’m so pleased that it’s effective immediately,’ she says. ‘It will help me and so many other first-time buyers to save a substantial amount.

‘Having worked incredibly hard to save for my deposit, I’m glad that it has freed up some funds that I can use for other things like removals and adding finishing touches when I move.’

Bronze will consist of 77 homes in total, including studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom duplexes, arranged across three striking bronze-clad towers. All will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, many with beautiful views over the nearby King George’s Park. Prices start from £445,000.

Do the maths

(For a similar one-bed apartment)

Purchase price: £445,000

15 per cent deposit: £66,750

Service charge: approx £155pcm

Mortgage: approx £1,706pcm

Monthly spend: approx. £1,861

Stamp duty saving: £7,250 (savings for a one bed, based on First Time-Buyer status. Home movers would save £12,250)