Shared Ownership Week - Couple back from Cyprus find ideal home

Posted 15 September 2016 by Ben Salisbury

A British couple who spent 14 years living in Cyprus were able to find an ideal property from Guinness Homes for them back home through Shared Ownership...

Shared ownership has helped one British couple realise their ambition of moving back home after enjoying 14 years living abroad in Cyprus.

Tina Kelly, 44 and her husband Mark Burkitt, 54, originally from Cornwall and Plymouth, met while on holiday in Cyprus in 2002 and later decided to move to the island in 2002, because they could get better value for money in a warmer climate.  

However, when they decided to move back to the UK from their final residence, Protaras in southern Cyprus in May 2015, to be closer to friends and family in Plymouth, they were concerned at first about how they would get their own home. After staying with friends and family for several months, they heard about shared ownership and realised they could get on the property ladder with a brand new Shared Ownership apartment. The couple chose a stylish coastal development in Plymouth by Guinness Homes, The Arena, located on the south east coast of Devon.

Tina, a head receptionist at a holiday park, comments: “After living in Cyprus for so many years, we finally decided on a change of scene and a new chapter. We didn’t have a property of our own to come back to in the UK so we ended up staying with friends and parents for several months. We knew nothing about Shared Ownership at first, so initially we were concerned about how we would be able to afford a place of our own – the market had moved on quite a bit since we left!”

It was a financial adviser who recommended the pair look into shared ownership, which is how they found out about Guinness Homes and The Arena. Within four months of beginning their search for a new home, the couple had purchased a 45% share of a two bedroom maisonette. The couple pay just over £500 a month in mortgage, rent and service charges.

Tina adds: “Guinness was very supportive from the beginning so we even swapped financial advisers to one they recommended.

“We didn’t see any other properties we were interested in until we found The Arena, and the whole buying process took only four months. Shared Ownership suited us financially, and it is thanks to this scheme, we were able to get onto the housing ladder. We’ve been really impressed by Guinness, they were very patient when we were getting a mortgage, and really understood our needs.

“When we moved back to the UK we didn’t have any furniture or belongings so we had to purchase new items. It’s been great having our own space that we can decorate. We’re slowly adding homely touches.

“Our maisonette is just a five-minute walk into town, with a train station and bus stop nearby. The rural area close to our home offers a lovely place to walk our two dogs, Zeus and Sky. The neighbours are very lovely and just after a month of living here, we feel very settled.”

All of the homes at The Arena are now sold. However, another development by Guinness called Seabrook Orchards in the nearby town of Topsham will offer three-bedroom houses in 2017, for more information please visit

Your guide to Shared Ownership from WhatHouse? is free to download.

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