One-on-one interview: Katie Bond of Notting Hill Home Ownership

Posted 17 September 2014 by Keith Osborne

We continue our series of interviews with leading figures in the housebuilding industry by speaking to Katie Bond, Director of Notting Hill Home Ownership. 

Where is your firm offering new homes?
Notting Hill Home Ownership is very active across London. In the coming year we will be releasing homes in a number of London Boroughs including Southwark, Islington, Newham, Lambeth, Havering and Enfield. We offer a range of homes from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom houses which are available for shared ownership and private sale.

Many of our new developments are in areas of large regeneration which is a great option for people who want to get onto the housing ladder. These include Camberwell Fields, near Burgess Park in Southwark, Oval Quarter in Myatts Field, Lambeth and Rathbone Market in Canning Town.

What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas?
The market conditions in all these areas continue to be buoyant. There is always strong interest for properties throughout the London region and this is reflected via the high number of leads we generate from our marketing campaigns. We have developments in very established areas such as Clapham which are always very popular but we are also witnessing huge interest in areas which have historically been less established in terms of home ownership; which I see as very positive. 

What is Shared Ownership and how does it work?
Shared ownership enables people to purchase a share of a home starting from 25% up to 75%. You then pay a subsidised rent to the housing association on the share that you haven’t purchased. Even though you don’t legally fully own the property, you have full use of it as a ‘normal’ leaseholder and buyers are able to purchase more shares (Here' is more on the process of Staircasing.) whenever they wish.

All buyers have to ensure that they meet the affordability criteria set out within the development and for the property they have been offered. We use an affordability calculator to ensure that the mortgage, rent and service charge costs can be easily covered within the applicants take home salary. We have dedicated shared ownership sales consultants who are able to take purchasers through the process step by step; making the purchase simple and straightforward for them.

How much does a Shared Ownership property by Notting Hill Home Ownership typically cost to buy?
The costs of our homes vary depending on where it is and what share the purchaser is able to buy. However, we have homes starting at a market value of £220,000 available on a 25% share which are available to people with an annual income of £29,500. Last year, the average market value of all the homes we sold was £314,000 and we sold an average of 40% to buyers with an average household income of £43,000.

Why should more buyers consider buying into a Shared Ownership property?
Shared ownership enables applicants to buy into areas where they were previously priced out or may not have considered. One of the huge benefits of shared ownership is that you only have to raise a deposit on the share that you are buying which makes it much more accessible than buying on the open market. As the rent element is also subsided, your monthly outgoings are generally less than if you had brought the property outright.

It is also much better than renting as buyers will benefit from any increase to the property value and it is your home which gives you the stability that renting doesn’t.

Who qualifies for Shared Ownership? 
Applicants must be able to raise a mortgage and comfortably cover housing costs with their salary. They must earn less than the Greater London Authority salary caps of £66,000 for one-two beds, £80,000 for three-beds. They tend to be first-time buyers, or anyone who doesn’t own another property.

What is Notting Hill Home Ownership’s USP?
We have the largest shared ownership programme in London and have homes for sale all over the capital. This year we will be selling over 600 new shared ownership homes across 13 London Boroughs. Our buyers are looking for new build properties which are close to transport networks and we are able to offer this through a large variety of new build developments throughout London, with high quality specifications and design. Due to the areas we cover, we are able to match buyers to developments that are best suited to their lifestyle needs and income.

Which of the developments Notting Hill Home Ownership is currently offering do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House Award?
‘The Exchange’ in Bermondsey is a fantastic mixed tenure development offering a range of apartments and a selection of four bedroom town houses in Zone 1. The development has a contemporary feel with the interior design inspired by the local area, its industrial heritage and surrounding Victorian architecture. The development has been extremely popular with only a few homes still available.

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