Personal Experience With Shared Ownership Inspires Director Kush Rawal

Posted 3 September 2020 by Lizzie Leigh

Kush Rawal of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing about ‘People Powered Living’ and his belief in Shared Ownership...

We catch up with Kush Rawal, director of residential housing at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, about ‘People Powered Living’ the benefits of Shared Ownership.

Your role must encompass many different aspects, can you give us a brief overview?

Ultimately my role is about helping to maximise the customer’s experience, and to ensure we are educating buyers about Shared Ownership. I also ensure that we are providing a quality product, and produce sales and marketing strategies that underpin this.

MTVH is more than just homes for sale – we are a new homes business and mortgage provider, with our own estate agent service, alongside support post-sales for when buyers wish to purchase more shares.

As a company, you talk about 'People Powered Living', can you explain what this means?

I personally have a really strong belief in Shared Ownership, as it’s not only how my wife and I were able to buy our first home, but also how my parents were able to get onto the property ladder after moving to the UK in the 1960s. My story is not unique – and so many of the team at MTVH have similar anecdotes about how Shared Ownership has given them the security of homeownership.

This personal experience throughout the business means that we are a company about people that is run by people. In the industry, it’s so easy to get lost in talking about outputs and units and finance – but ultimately, the reason we are here is to help people to live well.

We firmly believe that everyone should have that chance to live well, and a good home and environment are key in making this happen. People Powered Living is about having a team of real people who have a genuine belief in helping customers, and who execute our vision well.

As well as housing opportunities, you also offer a range of care and supporters to people in their communities. Tell us more.

We are one of the country’s biggest home support providers, which involves us running our own homes where we provide 24/7 support in some cases. We provide contractor services for apartments, and work with local authorities and a network of passionate, skilled people across England who provide these services on behalf of MTVH to local communities, supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Many of us are guilty of taking basic things for granted, and as a business we use our resources and expertise to reduce some of the difficulties in people’s lives. There is a link between health and housing, both of which are pillars to success, and we have a set of compassionate company values that drive this goal.

Clapham ParkClapham Park

Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing offers Shared Ownership to buyers through its SO Resi brand, how does this work?

At MTVH, we have our dedicated brand SO Resi, which focuses solely on providing homebuyers with the knowledge they need to buy a home through Shared Ownership. This is our own personal challenge to the marketplace, where we represent the voice of the shared owner. We take the view that we want to change perceptions in the market, and after years of feedback and insight into what works well and what could be done better, our mission for the next five years is to continue to grow this brand. The ultimate goal is to educate buyers about the benefits of Shared Ownership so that we become a national force for affordable homebuying.

We are also the only provider to offer Shared Ownership Plus, which is available on newly built homes. This is an even more flexible and affordable option of buying more shares of your SO Resi home, where you can buy 1% extra of your home each year at an agreed price from day one for 15 years – and there are no solicitor’s or valuation fees. This is our unique proposition in the market aimed at supporting buyers in working towards owning more of their home.

How significant is the lack of affordable housing in the areas you cover and what can be done to lessen this problem?

We operate in London, the South East, East Anglia and the Midlands, all of which are desirable areas that have seen significant increases in property prices over the last 20 years. In turn, these areas have seen a rising pool of would-be buyers who are locked out of the marketplace.

We know that the average age of the first-time buyer has slowly crept up to around 35-36, which shows that traditional routes to homeownership are just not good enough for many buyers. Whilst interventions such as Help to Buy have worked towards reducing the problem, we are still seeing buyers being shut out of the open market – and this will only get worse when Help to Buy ends.

Accessibility is key, and to lessen the problem, we need to see more mortgage lenders willing to lend to buyers with a 10% deposit, and help them access affordable credit. Unfortunately, a big issue is that wage increases have not kept in line with rates of house price changes – this is something which needs to be addressed, but is unlikely to be fixed anytime soon.

Shared Ownership works to address many of the barriers to homeownership on the open market, with a low deposit requirement, and moveable accessibility points – buyers can purchase what they can afford, and can grow as their affordability grows.

What schemes are you promoting at the moment?

We have a number of really exciting schemes at the moment, both in London and the South East. Clapham Park is a flagship scheme of ours and will offer 132 Shared Ownership homes as part of a wider regeneration scheme which will see more than 2,500 homes delivered. The beauty of this scheme is that buyers can access a fashionable property hotspot whilst getting good value for money. Clapham is an area to watch over the next ten years, so buyers investing now will almost certainly see an excellent return in the future.

Outside of London, we also have homes available at our Times Square development in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. This is one of the UK’s first garden cities and is an opportunity for buyers on average incomes of around £20,000 to £25,000 to access their own property. Incredibly, the cost of buying a Shared Ownership home here is cheaper than average rents in the area.

We are also excited about our developments in the Wokingham area, where we have a mix of both apartments and family homes available. It’s important to recognise that there are a lot of families out there who want to use Shared Ownership, particularly in counties such as Berkshire where there are excellent schools and facilities for families, so we are meeting demand for this by offering two, three- and four-bedroom houses.

You provide a service called 'MyTVH', how does this help your clients?

We have realised over the last five or six years that the ways in which customers want to engage is shifting – in particular, we have seen a move towards 24/7 access as an operating model. Customers want to connect and have a transparent view on everything at any time of the day, so MyTVH allows customers to access this online. Through the service, customers can view details of their account, monitor repairs, and keep up to date with the latest information.

We want to continue to build on this customer-centric online offering by being transparent about our operations and giving customers exposure to key information about both their development and the wider business.

And finally, what's in the pipeline over the coming months for you?

A strong part of MTVH and SO Resi is our value and belief in partnerships, which really underpin the fantastic work that we do to deliver quality homes to buyers. Over the next few months we have a number of exciting schemes coming up that we are working with our partners on – such as a town centre complex in Farnham, Surrey, which will offer 75 Shared Ownership homes; and a fantastic scheme in Maidenhead. We also will be launching the next phase of 50 homes at Welwyn Garden City, and have a number of new homes due for delivery in West Hendon. Looking further ahead, we also have plans for Shared Ownership homes in Cambridge.

 

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A Guide To Part Buy Part Rent
Part Rent Part Buy is a scheme you can use with Home Reach where you buy a share of your chosen newly built home and pay a monthly rent on the part you don’t buy. Your budget will decide the size of the share you buy, rather than the size of your home. So, you might decide to buy a bigger share of a lower priced home or a smaller share of a more expensive home.

You are able to purchase your share in either cash savings or by taking out a mortgage. If you are taking out a mortgage to finance your share, you will need to allow for a minimum of 5% deposit. The larger your deposit (typically 10%) the lower your mortgage repayments are likely to be.

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