First Time Buyer Magazine held its annual Readers’ Awards event at The Landmark London on Friday 24 April, honouring the great work done by housing associations and private developers for people trying to get on the property ladder. It was a record year for entries and attendees at the event, reflecting just how important the sector is to the housebuilding industry as a whole.
Lynda Clark, editor of First Time Buyer Magazine, says: “This is the sixth year that we have held the First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards and every year we see the design and quality of new homes and services for first-time buyers taken up a level – this year was no different. With a record number of entries, the judges were impressed with everything they saw and we were delighted to present the winners with the recognition they deserved at the ceremony.
Here, the WhatHouse? team presents its favourite half-dozen winners, you can find the full list of winners for every category at the foot of the page.
Viridium, Camberley, Surrey (Hodson Developments)
Viridium, an exclusive collection of apartments located on Frimley Road in Camberley has scooped the Best Medium Development prize at the Awards.
Alan Hodson, managing director of Hodson Developments, says: “It was our aim to bring a unique development of very attractive apartments to the Camberley market that would appeal to a wide range of homebuyers, including first-time buyers. We are delighted with the result and we are very proud that Viridium has been awarded this fantastic accolade.”
Lynda Clark, editor of First Time Buyer Magazine, says: “Our panel of judges were particularly impressed with the very high quality of finish available with every apartment at Viridium. It was clear to see that no corners have been cut and that every homebuyer would receive the same level of exceptional care.”
The attractive one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments at Viridium are available with Help to Buy. With prices starting from £295,000, homebuyers only require a deposit of £14,750 to buy one of the stylish apartments if they take advantage of the government-backed Help to Buy.
Currently available at Viridium is a range of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
Price: From £295,000
Contact: 01276 66693 (Romans Land & New Homes)
Kidbrooke Village, London SE3 (Berkeley Homes/Viridian Group)
Berkeley East Thames and Viridian were the winners in the Best Housing Alliance category, which has put the spotlight on their work together at the huge Kidbrooke Village regeneration project in southeast London. It will provide over 4,000 social and open-market new homes to a long-neglected corner of the capital.
Civil servant Peter White is delighted to be one of those who has finally found a home that he can call his own at the scheme, with the benefit of a shared ownership arrangement. “I am very pleased, it is not very easy to get on the property ladder and due to my circumstances I have been paying what you would call ‘dead rent’ for the last 15 years,” he says.
“I already lived in Kidbrooke through Southern Housing and have been here since 2011. Without a partnership such as this then I would not have been able to purchase my own home. In addition to that I must say it has been well designed and the amount of green space around the village has made a massive improvement.”
Over 88 hectares of Kidbrooke Village’s total area will be open space, including the new Cator Park.
White concludes: “Berkeley Homes and Viridian have been very thorough with their work and I am delighted to have finally moved in. I look forward to seeing the future facilities in the village centre in the coming years.”
Price: From £255,000
Contact: Berkeley 020 8150 5151 / Viridian 0800 012 1442
The Schoolyard, Wandsworth, London SW18 (L&Q)
The First Time Buyer report for the Best Show Home category says: “For the shared ownership show home at the exceptional new development, The Schoolyard, L&Q briefed Catherine Wilman Interiors to create a look that would be aspirational, yet affordable, combining modern elegance and practicality.
“Offering 139 outstanding apartments, including 20 shared ownership homes, priced from £93,750 for a 25% share, the superb development is ideal for first-time buyers. The top-quality show home incorporates a mix of high street and luxury brands, blended with a range of contemporary fixtures and fittings and a colour palette of soft off-white and muted anthracite, enlivened with accents of orange and bold artworks.”
The Schoolyard is located in the heart of Wandsworth and comprises a range of high-specification one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. It is close to the vibrant heart of Wandsworth and moments away from open spaces and the River Thames. Excellent transport links bring central within easy reach.
In addition to the low running costs associated with quality new-build, Wandsworth also benefits from the lowest council tax in UK – another plus for those hoping to minimise the outlay at their very first home.
Contact: 0844 406 9288
Kings Park, Harold Wood, London RM3 (East Thames Group)
Leading the Best Large Development category is East Thames Group with this development in Havering on the eastern fringes of Greater London.
The new build homes at the development are set in the grounds of the 19th-century, Grade II listed The Grange, which will be restored to its former glory as a centrepiece of the scheme. They have been sensitively designed to respect the regal history of the Great Gubbins site which dates back to medieval times, combining contemporary architecture and sustainable design.
Only three-bedroom houses now remain for sale under a shared ownership arrangement, with buyers able to purchase a home for as little as a 30% initial share.
One of the most appealing qualities of Kings Park is its location, particularly for travel into central London. Harold Wood station is reachable with an Oyster card (Zone 6) and provides a frequent train service to London Liverpool Street, with a journey time of around 35 minutes. In addition, by 2018 Crossrail will provide extensive, fast links from Harold Wood station into central London and onwards to Heathrow and Maidenhead.
Harold Wood also has easy access to the nearby A12, A127 and M25 motorway.
Price: From £110,250
Contact: 0300 303 7333
Stonechat Mews, Dartford, Kent (Countryside)
Regeneration specialists Countryside won the Private Developer of the Year category at the Awards and Stonechat Mews is a great example of the work they do.
This Kent development currently offers a range of two- and three-bedroom renovated apartments now available with the government-backed Help to Buy scheme.
Andrew Loveday, sales and marketing director at Countryside, says: “The refurbished apartments at Stonechat Mews present first time buyers with a brilliant opportunity to get onto the property ladder. The Help to Buy scheme means that only a minimum of a 5% deposit is needed to secure their first home here at Stonechat Mews, which equates to £13,500 for a two bedroom apartment costing £270,000.”
The apartments are located on part of the Old Stone House Hospital site, part of what used to be the old nurses’ home, Martin House, originally built in 1909.
The development has been a special project for Countryside, refurbishing and renovating the existing building, mixing the history and character of the location with modern architecture and design.
The external shell and structure of the building have been retained and the inside completely renovated, with a quality specification, flooring fitted throughout and neutral contemporary decor. The stylish fitted kitchens have fully integrated appliances while bathrooms and en suites feature a light, natural palette contrasted with stylish chrome accessories.
Price: From £270,000
Contact: 01322 277705
Green Dragon House, Croydon (Inspired Homes)
Designed in the 1960s as an office building for Croydon’s growing economy, Green Dragon House has been home to a number of well-known companies over the years. Today however, with a change to residential use, the building is receiving an extensive programme of upgrading, refurbishment and development to create a new era of stylish, urban living.
Green Dragon House is centrally located in the area popularly known as Croydon’s Cultural Quarter. Here you’ll find numerous bars, quality restaurants, modern arts and shops, all just a stone’s throw away.
Croydon’s three stations are also nearby, with buses stopping right outside and trams just a two-minute walk away. So when you’re off exploring the surrounding areas, you won’t have far to walk.
Now transformed into a landmark setting for contemporary apartments, this Inspired Homes development offers high specifications throughout. Every home incorporates efficient heating and lighting, the UK’s fastest broadband, high quality fixtures and fittings and an open-plan interior designed for modern, luxurious, urban living.
Price: From £206,250
Contact: 020 7495 0523
The winners in full:
Affordable Housing Provider of the Year
Highly commended: Newlon Housing Trust
Private Developer of the Year
Highly commended: Lovell & Muse developments
Best Large Development
Winner: East Thames Group - Kings Park, Harold Wood, London
Highly commended: Kier Living Eastern – Riverside Mill Lane, Little Paxton, Cambridgeshire
Best Medium Development
Winner: Hodson Developments - Viridium, Camberley, Surrey
Highly commended: Family Mosaic - Park View, Southwark, London
Best Small Development
Winner: Octavia Housing - Illumina House, Wandsworth, London
Highly commended: Genesis - Shortcroft Mead Court, Dollis Hill, London
Best Show Home
Winner: L&Q - The Schoolyard, Wandsworth, London
Highly commended: Catalyst – Waterside, Kew, London
Best Housing Alliance
Winner: Berkeley East Thames & Viridian
Highly commended: Taylor Wimpey East London and L&Q
Best Law Firm for Conveyancing
Winner: Beaumont Legal
Highly commended: Cavendish Legal Group
Most Innovative Redevelopment of an Existing Property
Winner: Inspired Homes - Green Dragon, Croydon, London
Highly commended: Genesis - Shortcroft Mead Court, Dollis Hill, London
Best Urban Regeneration Project
Winner: Swan New Homes - Bow Cross, Bow, London
Highly commended: Catalyst - Portobello Square, Notting Hill, London
Best Architectural Design
Winner: STOCKWOOL - Gunmakers Wharf, Bow, London
Highly commended: NEAT Developments and RLAM – TNQ, Colindale, London
Most Innovative Marketing Campaign
Winner: Origin Housing
Highly commended: Metropolitan
Find out more at www.ftbawards.com