Affordable Homes in London and Hertfordshire from Origin Housing

Posted 2 May 2019 by Lizzie Leigh

Simon Scott from Origin Housing tells us how they really do make housing affordable in London and Hertfordshire...

We talk care, support and affordable innovation with Simon Scott at Origin Housing, a housing association which provides exciting Shared Ownership and Help To Buy opportunities for first time buyers in London and Hertfordshire.

Please tell us about Origin Housing and your role as Assistant Director of Commercial and Property Marketing.

Origin Housing is a medium-sized housing association focused on providing affordable housing, quality design and excellent customer service. We manage over 6,500 homes in London and Hertfordshire and provide affordable housing as well as related care and support services.

My role at Origin is to drive residential sales and develop our growing commercial arm. I am proud to work for a business that focuses on providing housing that is both affordable and of the highest quality – helping first-time buyers and families on to the housing ladder.

What are the main projects you are focusing on at the moment? 

We recently embarked on a joint venture with Hill, the first of its kind for Origin, on a new development in the heart of Harrow. Echo One offers a total of 116 new homes on the vibrant Northolt Road and the scheme innovatively maximises the delivery of much needed new homes for first-time buyers in the area.

The contemporary mix of apartments are positioned just a stone’s throw from South Harrow tube station and offer stylish interiors, open plan living and private outdoor space. Echo One is ideally suited for young professionals and first-time buyers due to the excellent transport connections and local amenities the area offers. Central London is accessible in just 45 minutes.

Other developments we’re focusing on at the moment are Northern Heights in Finchley Central, where just one 2-bedroom and one three-bedroom home remain, and Castra Apartments in Mill Hill East, where we have just a handful of one-bedroom and one two-bedroom homes still available. Both developments offer great options for first-time buyers who want to buy through Shared Ownership.

We are also working on a growing private sale portfolio, including Camden Mews, a collection of 3-bedroom townhouses, poised to be our first scheme prices upwards of £1m – with all profits reinvested in to the business, to continue delivering the best quality affordable homes. 

Tell us briefly about the different property services provided by Origin. 

Origin offer a variety of property services. We build new homes that are available through Shared Ownership for first-time buyers who aspire to own their own home, and we build some homes for outright sale, because the profits from the sales help to finance our charitable activities. We also provide quality housing at an intermediate (subsidised) rent available for those on lower incomes; this could help them to save toward a deposit in the future.

Is there really such a thing as affordable housing?

Yes, definitely! Our properties provide the perfect opportunity for people to step onto the property ladder in an affordable way. For example, to buy one of our homes at Echo One you could buy a 25% share for as little as £81,875, meaning that you would only need to save £4,243 for your 5% deposit. You then pay a subsidised rent on the unowned share.

This year, we commenced our largest ever development programme, creating 1000 homes by 2021. A significant proportion of these will be affordable, and we now have our largest private sale portfolio in a number of years, which will continue support the delivery of the best quality affordable homes.

How does Origin integrate with the local communities where they build homes?

As well as enabling people to get on the property ladder, we always want to help people and their neighborhoods thrive. We really care about out residents and want our communities to be places where people feel safe and proud - and that’s what makes us stand out. We run and support initiatives to encourage inclusion and involvement, helping people to become actively involved in building sustainable, healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.

What home ownership options does Origin Housing offer to first-time buyers?

Origin Housing offers a range of homes for first-time buyers through both Shared Ownership and Help to Buy. At ICON7 in Islington, we have 15 private sale homes, five of the remaining homes are available for Help to Buy, and two Shared Ownership homes, which will be sold to local first-time buyers currently living or working in Islington.  

However, not only do we have one- and two-bedroom apartments for sale we also focus on trying to provide for one of the sector’s most underprovided for groups - families struggling to buy their first home. Half of Origin’s completed Shared Ownership homes in 2017/18 were three- and four-bedroom family houses, with gardens; a housing option for which demand continues to outstrip supply. We also offer family homes in the heart of the City; at Northern Heights in Finchley Central we offer a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments through Shared Ownership, meaning we have an attractive offering to a variety of first-time buyers.

 What advice do you have for anybody looking to buy a new home?

Shared Ownership is something I would urge you consider for getting your first step on the housing ladder. It is a great first step because Shared Ownership is designed to help people who can’t afford to get a deposit together to buy a property on the open market. Buyers only need to have a 5% deposit of the share they are buying and not the entire property price. 

The other fantastic thing about Shared Ownership is it offers flexibility, and you can own the property outright, by ‘staircasing’, at a later date.  It means you can buy an additional share in the home as and when your circumstances change, ultimately allowing you to own your home outright. 

Don’t be afraid to get in touch to ask questions and assess your options. It’s a big decision and our friendly sales team will be happy to help you with any concerns or queries you may have!

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