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First-time Buyer: This couple were able to avoid the rental trap thanks to shared ownership

Riding high: Lucy and Josh in their new apartment at Hyde New Homes’ New Wave  development

AFTER getting engaged in 2018, finding a place to buy was the logical next step for Lucy Martin, 24, and Josh Cassar, 28. They both work in Brighton and like many other young couples in a similar position, were concerned they wouldn’t be able to get a deposit together, let alone qualify for a mortgage.

‘We were both still living with our parents and wanted to move out but knew we’d never be able to afford a full mortgage and if we started renting, we wouldn’t be able to properly save,’ explains Lucy.

Working for a financial company, she spoke to an adviser from her office, who suggested shared ownership, which neither she nor Josh, an insight delivery specialist, had heard of.

Once they realised this part-buy, part-rent scheme was tailor-made for them, the pair were quick to act. The two-bed apartment they viewed at Hyde New Homes’ New Wave development in Hove was the last one available, so they had to decide quickly, and ended up making their application on the same day.

‘When we called to book a viewing, we were told that there was limited time to start the process of purchasing and because we didn’t want to miss out, we made an appointment immediately,’ continues Lucy. ‘As soon as we viewed it, we knew we had found the one.’

Shared ownership enables people who can’t afford to buy a flat or house outright to purchase a share, and pay rent to a housing association on the remainder. They only need a deposit for the share they’re buying, which is a minimum of 25 per cent of the full market value and repaid via a mortgage, and can later increase their stake in a process called staircasing. The scheme is open to first-time buyers and others who’ve previously owned a home but can’t otherwise get back on the property ladder, with a maximum household income of £80,000, or £90,000 in London.

Lucy and Josh were impressed by the service they received from Hyde New Homes, which went a long way towards making their move as hassle-free as possible. ‘My sales consultant answered my never-ending questions and always got back to me within the hour. It made the process clear and easy,’ says Lucy. The couple moved in last summer, and have never had the slightest doubt that they made the right decision. ‘We can start our future in the most financially secure way possible. When we went for the viewing, we could instantly see ourselves living there,’ she adds. ‘We are saving so much money as we can now walk to work and also have access to great local bars and restaurants. And, best of all, Brighton beach is on our doorstep!’

Do the maths

Full price: £270,000

40 per cent share: £108,000

5 per cent deposit: £5,400

Mortgage: £481 pcm approx

Rent: £371pcm

Service charge: £130pcm

Total monthly spend: £982

All the shared-ownership apartments at New Wave have now gone but three two-beds remain for private sale, from £385,000, nw-hove.co.uk. A new phase of shared ownership homes has been released at Shopwyke Lakes, Chichester. One-beds start from £78,000 (a 40 per cent share of £195,000), two-beds from £108,000 (40 per cent of £270,000) and three-beds from £94,500 (30 per cent of £315,000), hydenewhomes.co.uk