One-on-one interview: Lauren Nicholson of Family Mosaic

Posted 21 November 2013

This week. Marc Da Silva continues our ongoing series of interviews with senior figures in the new homes industry by catching up with Lauren Nicholson, head of marketing at Family Mosaic.

What regions do you cover? Family Mosaic has seven offices covering London and Essex, making us one of the largest housing providers in the capital. As a housing association, we build and provide new homes to buy through shared ownership, otherwise known as part-buy/part-rent, where the buyers can purchase a share of their home and pay rent on the remaining share. We have helped over 220 people onto the property ladder through Shared Ownership in financial year 2012-13 and 106 to date. Family Mosaic currently has 18 shared ownership developments in London, including our flagship scheme, Park View in Southwark, which offers a range of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas? London remains a competitive market, and with the average house price in London increasing by closer to 10% over the last year, many buyers in the capital are turning to shared ownership to find an affordable route to homeownership.

What impact is Help to Buy having on the market? Help to Buy has reportedly added to housing demand, which may boost the market and encourage further housebuilding. As a provider of affordable housing we are in support of other products that give Londoners the opportunity to get on the property ladder, but are also aware of the negative effect that high demand and limited supply of housing can have on property prices.

What types of properties is your firm selling? Through shared ownership, Family Mosaic offers a wide variety of newbuild and resale homes, from one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments to maisonettes and townhouses.

How much does a new home by Family Mosaic typically cost to buy? When buying a home through shared ownership, buyers can purchase between a 30% and 75% share of their property, whilst paying rent on the remainder. On average based on all developments we have sold in the last year our prices were £255,599 for a one-bedroom unit, which would equate to £76,680 for a 30% share. The average two-bedroom property cost £312,070, which would equate to £93,621 for a 30% share. The mortgage calculation is based on a 95% repayment loan over 25 years at an interest rate of 5.69%. Rent percentage interest is 2%. But this figure is a guide only. You must get advice from a qualified advisor.

Why should more buyers consider buying a new-build home as opposed to older property? Buying a new-build home means that you will have a home that no one else has lived in, buying new can save you all the stress and delays usually associated with moving, like upward chains. Family Mosaic's new homes are safe and secure, thoughtfully designed with modern living in mind, including new integrated appliances, open-plan space and luxurious bathrooms with attractive ceramic tiling and carefully selected brassware. Featuring secure double glazed windows, fire resistant materials and smoke alarms, new homes are often much safer than old. Often Built to Code Level 4, our new homes are more eco-friendly with better insulation, so you may save money on your utility bills. Our buyers receive support from our new homes team who are committed to our homeowners for a year after the sale has been completed

Is it worth buying property during the off-plan stage of construction? Normally, when completion is some time off, in a rising market, buyers are securing an asset at today's value with a deposit in the hope it will be worth more when completing. Buying off-plan also presents the buyers with the choice of buying best units in the development.

What is Family Mosaic's USP? Family Mosaic has an exceptional track record in delivering high-quality, large scale developments across London and the South East. Our 50 years of experience in property development covering new homes, contemporary urban apartments, family homes and innovative shared ownership and social housing schemes sets us apart as a highly informed developer at the leading edge of our industry. Working in close partnership with architects, designers and builders, attention to detail and quality of materials, fit and finish are integral to our approach. We consider every aspect of a development to ensure that we create desirable and functional spaces for living. Our exceptional track record in sustainability is central to all of our projects. We are proud to have delivered one of the first Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 schemes in London.

Which of the developments Family Mosaic is currently developing do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House? Award? I believe Lime Wharf in Hackney could be in with a chance with winning Best Development; it is a mixed-tenure scheme providing affordable shared ownership apartments as well as apartments for private sale. Built on Regents Canal, Lime Wharf seamlessly blends chic east London style with the calm of waterside living, in what is one of London's most vibrant conservation areas. The development comprises three blocks finished in pale grey zinc cladding, which ‘float' above the ground floor commercial workshop and studio spaces below. All apartments have large balconies, overlooking landscaped internal courtyard gardens, or the canal itself.



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