London Square Ruislip is 50 per cent sold but apartments in the second phase, Metropolitan House, start at £249,995 for a one-bedroom apartment. Sales director Rebecca Littler says the development is ‘the ideal base for professionals, families and downsizers with busy schedules who are looking for somewhere they can enjoy all the benefits of a village lifestyle just 25 minutes out of central London.’
Guarantee is as safe as houses
Some buyers hanker after period features but for others – such as first-time buyer Ajay Taylor – only brand spanking new will do. Taylor, 25, an accountant from Wembley north-west London, recently bought a two-bedroom apartment in a new development London Square Ruislip. Currently living with his parents, Ajay wanted a place of his own.
“I started looking around, mainly at houses, but was worried about the things that could go wrong,’ he says. ‘New roofs can be costly and you’re basically responsible for everything inside and out, whereas with a new-build you’re only responsible for the inside.”
He says the fact that all new property comes with a ten-year National House-Building Council (NHBC) guarantee, which covers structural defects, gave him peace of mind.
Ajay considered buying through shared ownership – where you buy a portion of the property and pay rent on the rest – but after speaking to financial advisers, he decided not to when he was told he couldn’t sublet.
“If the place turned out not to be for me or if I wanted to move quickly for reasons such as work, it would limit me so I decided against that,” he says.
At first he struggled to get a mortgage.
“It was difficult,” he says. “My parents helped with the deposit but, when mortgage companied realised I was about to be fully qualified and my salary will soon increase, they became more receptive.”
Ajay was lucky but more help is now available to buyers struggling to get their first home. In the past two months, about 4,000 people have reserved a new home thanks to the government’s Help To Buy scheme.
The Equity Loan part of the scheme – under which the government helps buyers of new build homes get a mortgage with at least a five per cent deposit by granting an equity loan of up to 20 per cent - has seen more than 400 builders sign up. The success means many more developments will soon be springing up across the capital, says the Home Builders Federation.
Buying new has many advantages but there are downsides. Ajay started looking last September.
“My dad spotted the signs for London Square from the train, so we went to have a look and loves it,’ he says. ‘I am very excited about having my own place. I bought it in February and it won’t be ready until January, so it’s a long wait.”
Is he nervous about buying something he hasn’t actually seen?
“It is a big step, a big responsibility and, as nothing had been built then and I’m buying off plan, it did make me extra cautious,” he says. “I checked online that it was a reputable company but also went to have a look at another London Square development, which is already built and was impressed with the high-quality finishes.”
Until Ajay moves in, he’s fantasising about his ‘bachelor pad’.
“I’m already window shopping and thinking about making it my own. I can’t wait.”