Browsing Tag


What’s the deal with starter homes?

By 16 March 2015 Home

Last month, the Prime Minister announced that 200,000 starter homes would be built to help young people onto the property ladder. But what the hell is a starter home and what’s it got to do with me you ask? Well, don’t get your knickers in a twist, I’m about to explain.

The Starter Homes scheme is a government initiative to a) increase the number of houses being built in Britain and b) to help more people buy their first home. The Tories do seem pretty obsessed with people buying houses which I suppose reflects society. I think it’s pretty much hard-wired into British people that homeownership is a necessity, whereas in other European countries they are much more content to rent forever. Perhaps they don’t have assured shorthold tenancies which give them hardly any security in their homes.

“Hardworking young people want to plan for the future and enjoy the security of being able to own their own home. I want to help them do just that.” – Prime Minister David Cameron

How will the Starter Home scheme work?

Well there are limited details available at the moment but basically the government is loosening planning requirements to allow developers to build on brownfield land and save on costs usually incurred by having to provide affordable housing (i.e. social housing and shared ownership). As the house builders will save money, they’ll be able to discount the homes they build by at least 20%.

Starter homes will only be available to first time buyers under the age of 40. Also, there’ll be a cap on the value of the home of up to £250,000 outside London and £450,000 inside London. You’ll still need to raise a deposit and get a mortgage but the discount should help you to find a more affordable home.

If you want to sell up within 5 years, you’ll need to offer the discount to the buyer, which basically means you have to repay the 20% saving you made. So this scheme isn’t for you if you think you’ll want to move on pretty quickly.

I’m interested! When can I buy a starter home?

Firstly, you have to get in the queue behind me! The government has said that building could start within months, which is suitably vague bearing in mind we could have another political party in government in May. David Cameron’s pledge is to build 200,000 discounted homes by 2020, which is fantastic news if you’re hoping to buy a house in the next 5 years. So far, more than 30 house builders have said they support the plans.

You can actually sign up and register to you interest on the New Homes website.

Are the homes cheaper because they’re crap?

Apparently not. A so-called Design Panel has been put together including some world class architects who have suggested some designs for the house builders to consider for their starter home developments. The image used above (copyright Farrells) is one of these designs.

The idea behind the starter homes is to build attractive, well-proportioned and high quality homes that ‘meet the demands of modern life’. Although I’m not sure what that last statement is supposed to mean.

Is this just pre-General Election bollocks?

Both the Financial Times and the Guardian have suggested that the announcement is the Prime Minister’s attempt to “woo” voters. The problem is that there is going to be a General Election on 7th May and the Conservative / Lib Dem coalition could be out. Who knows what the government is going to look like come 8th May. Will it be red, blue, yellow, green or, God help us, purple?

If the Tories don’t win, or become part of another coalition, the starter home scheme might not go ahead, which would be a real shame. I really don’t know who’s best to vote for this year, but I hope whoever wins will be on the first time buyer’s side when it comes to housing.

Do you think it’s right that we seem to be obsessed with buying houses in this country? Should we learn to love renting? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear what you think.

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What home can £170k buy you around the UK?

By 23 February 2015 Home

As someone who wants to get on the property ladder within the next four years, I’ve already started to look at mortgages and house prices. We don’t want to have to stay in our rented house for longer than we have to because it’s not where we want to raise a family.

For many people, the idea of renting for too long is so off-putting because you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. And, the monthly rent is often more than a mortgage repayment, which is pretty sickening really. According to a recent article on Zoopla, on average it’s 9%, or £62, cheaper per month to live in your own home rather than as a tenant.

The Guardian has reported that the average price of a home purchased by a first-time buyer is £171,870, and the average deposit raised by a first-time buyer is £29,218. That is a lot of money. It’s not surprising that the average age of people buying their first home is 30 years old, however I can’t imagine ever saving up that sort of sum.

So, as the average first-time home costs around £170k, I thought I’d have a hunt around Zoopla to see what your money can get you around the country. There are other property websites, such as Rightmove but I just happened to pick this one this time.

Dining room in 1930s semi in Dover

Three bed 1930s semi in Dover, Kent

Guide Price £170, 000 to £180, 000

This nice-sized home features two reception rooms, conservatory, kitchen, three bedrooms, and family bathroom. It also boasts front and rear gardens, although no parking.

1 bed flat in Brighton

One bedroom flat in Brighton, West Sussex


This rather small flat has a lounge, separate kitchen, double bedroom and bathroom. But it’s within a stone’s throw of all the sights and sounds of Brighton.

Taunton 3 bed semi

Modern three bed semi in Taunton, Somerset

Offers over £169,950

One of my personal favourites, this contemporary home has a lounge/diner, kitchen, downstairs loo, three bedrooms, family bathroom, back garden, garage and parking. This would be an ideal first home within commuting distance of both Exeter and Bristol.

Detached house in Grantham

Mock Tudor three bed detached with garage in Grantham, Lincolnshire

Offers in region of £170,000

Now talk about getting some bang for your buck. In Grantham, £170k buys you an entrance porch, hall, cloakroom, lounge/diner, conservatory, kitchen, utility room, three bedrooms with en-suite to the master and a bathroom. Now I’ve no idea what the job market is like in Lincolnshire but the price of this house suggests its not awesome. Tell me in the comments if I’m wrong. I’ll be moving!

The Cube apartment Birmingham

Funky 1 bed apartment in The Cube, Birmingham


This is the cool one! If you’re looking for city centre living with your significant other, or alone, this flat is pretty awesome. It was the showhome in The Cube development. You get open plan living, a bedroom and a bathroom. I love it!

4 bed terrace in Sunderland

Stunning four bed terrace in Sunderland


As terraced houses go this one is gorgeous. It’s packed full of original features and comprises two reception rooms and kitchen on the ground floor, three bedroom and family bathroom on first floor and a loft conversion with the master bedroom and en-suite shower room.

Merchant City flat Glasgow

2 bed flat, Merchant City, Glasgow

Offers over £155,000

This flat is ideal if you want open plan living close to the bustle of Glasgow. With a living/dining/kitchen, balcony, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms you could be very happy living here. That living space would be fab for parties!

Houseboat St Katharine Dock London

One bed houseboat, St Katharine Dock, London


This one’s definitely the wild card. Not exactly your average home but you can’t get much closer to the action than this. Moored in beautiful St Katharine Dock just around the corner from Tower Bridge, this houseboat could be the ideal way to find a home in central London. You only get a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom (or should we say a head?) but I think the deck and the stunning setting might just make up for it. Don’t forget the annual £11,184 mooring fees though!

What would £170,000 buy around your way? How does this compare to your possible first home budget? Let us know in the comments!

For interiors inspiration – check out the chaperthirty <3 homes Pinterest board.

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