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It’s playtime for a competitive couple who picked a winner, as Metro discovers

Room to play: Jon and Jess now have plenty of space to invite friends over for board games

JESS COLE, 28, and Jon Eade, 26, met over their love of board and roleplay games at Aston University’s board gaming society, so were over the moon when they realised that they could afford to buy a property with enough space to indulge their hobby. The pair purchased a three-bed townhouse at Barratt Homes’ B5 Central in Birmingham with their future in mind, and while they plan to have children in a few years’ time, they are currently using one of their spare rooms as a games area.

They moved into their new home in February and prior to lockdown, hosted twice-weekly games evenings with friends – an arrangement they’re hoping to resume before too long.

‘Having a spare room to play games in means it doesn’t take over the living room and dining table, and when friends came over for a roleplay evening that I wasn’t involved in, I could still relax downstairs and enjoy the living room while they played, without being in each other’s way,’ explains Jess, a technical consultant.

‘We have an extending table and plenty of space for storage shelves for all our games. We’ve also decorated the walls with empty board game boxes and framed a game that we’d finished playing recently as a memento because we had so much fun with it!’

Choosing a new-build was a no-brainer for Jess and Jon, who are taking advantage of having a home they can put their stamp on. The ground floor comprises a large kitchen, family and dining room with French doors leading out to the garden, and there are two double bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor, and a master bedroom and en-suite bathroom at the top.

‘As soon as we viewed the Norbury-style house, we knew it was the right choice for us,’ adds Jess. ‘Not only did it have enough ceiling height for Jon, who’s 6ft 8in, but it is versatile enough to change with our lifestyles. With the assistance of the sales team at the development, who laid out everything we needed to know and answered all our questions, we purchased our property with the Help to Buy scheme. We would definitely recommend Barratt Homes as they made our home-buying experience painless. It’s a joy to come home and open the door to a property that is ours.’

Jon, a payroll officer, believes they’ve found the perfect location. ‘At B5 Central we benefit from living close to our jobs, but it is still a very peaceful community that really offers the best of city living,’ he says.

B5 Central is right in the heart of Birmingham, a short walk from New Street and the Bullring and convenient for the A38.

All the houses have sold but one and two-bed apartments are available, priced £127,750-£242,500, and Help to Buy is on offer.

However, Barratt Homes is marketing a range of house types in developments across the West Midlands, including Saxon Meadows in Nuneaton, where a three-bed house starts at £200,000.

DO THE MATHS

(For a three-bed house at Saxon Meadows)

Purchase price: £200,000

5 per cent deposit: £10,000

20 per cent Help to Buy loan: £40,000

Mortgage: Approximately £610 pcm

Estate charge: £10 pcm

Monthly spend: £620

barratthomes.co.uk

All about Help to Buy

The Help to Buy equity loan enables buyers with a minimum five per cent deposit — rather than the 15 per cent normally required – to borrow up to 20 per cent of the cost.

This not only makes saving a deposit far easier, but means they only need a 75 per cent mortgage so have access to more competitive deals than when borrowing a bigger chunk of their home’s value, yet still own 100 per cent of it.

There’s no interest on the loan for the first five years, just a monthly £1 management fee. In the sixth year, you’ll be charged 1.75 per cent of the loan’s value, then the fee rises annually by the increase in the Retail Price Index plus one per cent. The loan is repayable after 25 years or when the property’s sold, as a proportion of its market value at the time.

Help to Buy is currently available to first-time buyers and existing home owners for new-builds costing up to £600,000, but the scheme is changing. From April 1, 2021, it will only be offered to first-time buyers and regional price caps are being introduced, with the threshold dropping to £255,600 in the West Midlands.