Getting on the property ladder is tough. For buyers in London you are paying rent and saving for a deposit, and it can feel like an uphill struggle at times.

There are however certain schemes available to first time buyers, which we’ve outlined below:

Help to Buy ISA

This product is available from a range of banks, building societies and credit unions.  You save money into a Help to Buy ISA and the government will boost your savings by 25%.  So, for every £200 you save, you receive £50 in a government bonus.  The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3000.  The accounts are available to each first-time buyer and not each household.  This means a couple could get £6000 towards their first home.  Your solicitor will apply for the government bonus on your behalf and use the funds at the completion of the property transaction.  You cannot use the funds for the deposit at exchange of contracts. Further details here.

Shared Ownership

If you cannot afford the mortgage on 100% of a home, you can buy a percentage of one (normally 25-75%) and rent the part you don’t own.  As and when your income allows you can purchase more shares in the property (there are costs involved with this and you purchase at the current market value).  To be eligible your household needs to earn £80000 or less outside of London and £90000 or less in London. Further details here.

Help to Buy Equity Loan

Under this scheme the buyer needs a 5% deposit, the government offers a 20% interest free loan (first five years only) and the remaining 75% is funded by a standard mortgage.  Be aware though that from year 6 interest becomes payable on the 20% and starts at 1.75%.  Every year after it increases by RPI (Retail Price Index) plus 1%. This scheme is available for all new-build properties in England worth up to £600,000.  Further details here.

Help to Buy London

In an extension to the above scheme, the London Help to Buy was launched on 1st February 2016.  Specifically to help buyers in London, the amount will grant an equity loan of up to 40% of the purchase price. Buyers can proceed with a deposit as little as 5%. Subject to qualifying you would need a mortgage on the remaining 55%.  You won’t be charged any fees on the 40% for the first 5 years of owning your property.  You cannot sublet this home and you are not allowed to own any other property at the time you buy your new home with Help to Buy London.  From year 6 interest becomes payable on the equity loan and follows the formula in the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme above. Further details here.

Starter Homes

If you are a first-time buyer (under 40 years old) the Starter Homes scheme could help you buy a new-build home with a 20% discount.  The maximum cost of a home offered via the Starter Homes scheme will be £250,000 outside London and £450,000 inside London.  The scheme isn’t up and running yet but planning is well underway.  Aspiring homeowners can register their interest online now here.

Moving house or redecorating can be a stressful experience, especially when you don’t know what it will look like until it’s all done. These apps, however, can help make everything a lot easier – from colour testing paint to measuring the best sunlight spots, there’s an app for that. Here’s our pick of the best:

1. Houzz

Winner of the “Best App” award at the inaugural Google Play Awards, Houzz is a game changer in home design. Like a combination of lots of other apps doing similar things on the market, Houzz lets you get inspiration for your room design, browse products, and then try them out in your home simply by taking a photo of the room. It also has an advice section where you can get opinions and help from the Houzz community on your ideas.

2. Sun Seeker

The Sun Seeker app is great for photographers and architects alike – but also for those who like to have a lot of sunlight in their home. The ‘map view’ on the app will track the sun’s rays across a certain geographical point, like your home, so you can see which parts of the house will get the best light.

 

3. Dulux Visualiser App

This app’s colour picker technology matches colours from photos you take with their paints. You can then try out these colours on the walls of your home. They also offer suggested colour schemes to accompany your new paint choice, and deliver the paints or colour testers to your door.

4. Homestyler

Homestyler rebuilds your home as a 3D playground for you to experiment with – just with one snap of the room. You can test out real furniture as 3D models in the room, test out light fixtures, and see how furnishings and colour schemes will look in your space. You can also browse the Design Stream for inspiration, share your designs with your family and friends through Facebook and email, and comment and “heart” other peoples’ designs. For more inspiration you can also browse through portfolios of professional designers in your local area.

5. Art Beamer

ArtBeamer is also an augmented reality app that lets you preview how artwork will look on your wall. Artists using the app will give a specific code to their pieces, which you can find either from the website, or asking at the gallery/exhibition. Simply type the code into the app and you will be able to “beam” the artwork onto your wall.

6. LikeThat Décor

This app allows you to shop for furniture on the go, by taking inspiration from things you see around you. Snap a photo of a piece of furniture you like, and the app will show you thousands of similar and complementary products, with details on where to shop for them.

7. Photo Measures

Photo Measures is a great way to keep track of your home’s measurements, allowing you to note dimensions down on photos of your rooms, to remember the exact layout and size of all the different spaces in the house.

Despite the inevitable days of grey skies and rain, relaxing in the park is always on the cards during the great British summer. East London has a variety of green spaces to enjoy, whether it’s for getting out of the office on your lunch break, exercising, or meeting friends for a picnic. Here’s our pick of the best places to relax in the sun:

London Fields

 

With a Green Flag award (making it one of the best green spaces in the country) and a licence for barbecues, London Fields is usually buzzing on a warm day with people out drinking, eating, and relaxing. On the weekends, there is a Saturday market selling a variety of products from hot food to vintage clothing.

Islington Green

 

 

A small slice of greenery between Upper Street and Essex Road, Islington Green is the perfect place for a quick lunch break, with lots of food options nearby. There is ample seating space, and despite being near a high street, it has quite a tranquil feeling.

Clapton Pond

 

Like London Fields, Clapton Pond holds a Green Flag award, and is nestled in the fork of Lower Clapton Road. Following a restoration project in 2004, the park is now a vibrant and well used community space. The adjacent high street has a variety of food options, making it a great stop for a lunch break.

Victoria Park

 

Also known as ‘Vicky Park’, Victoria Park stretches across East London and the Hertford Union Canal, bordering Bethnal Green, South Hackney, Cambridge Heath, and Old Ford. With two cafes, two playgrounds, sporting facilities, a skatepark, a bathing pond, and over 80 hectares of space, everyone is catered for and there are plenty of ways to relax on a sunny day.

Newington Green

 

Straddling the border between Islington and Hackney is Newington Green, which has a pleasant village green feel. Community groups hold fairs there, and there is plenty of lawn space to sit and relax, as well as a café and a children’s play area.

Highbury Fields

 

Highbury Fields is the largest open space in the borough of Islington, at 29 acres. Between the tree lined avenues, it holds recreational facilities, including tennis courts and Highbury Pool, as well as plenty of lawn space to relax.

To see our top properties that are close to a green space in London, click here.

This weekend, we were delighted to host The Hackney Society’s ‘50 Photographs of Hackney’ exhibition at one of our new homes developments in London Fields, Quadra.

The exhibition was a huge success, and because of this the exhibition will run for a further week to meet demand. It will be available to view from Tuesday-Friday this week at 91 Lansdowne Drive, E8 3HD.

The collection features images of day-to-day life around the borough – with the people and places that make Hackney so great. Limited edition prints will be on sale, with all proceeds going towards the funding of the Hackney Society’s work.

The Hackney Society is a membership organisation of Hackney residents and friends that was formed in 1967 to involve and support local people in the conservation and regeneration of Hackney’s built environment and public spaces.

For more information on Quadra and Currell see our website. More information about The Hackney Society can be found here.

This Friday 4th and Saturday 5th August from 10am-5pm, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, The Hackney Society will be showcasing their ’50 Photographs of Hackney’ exhibition. This will complement Hackney: Portrait of a Community 1967-2017, which is to be published soon.

The exhibition will be taking place at one of our latest new homes developments, Quadra, at 91 Lansdowne Drive, E8 3HD. This exclusive collection of over 55s apartments is adjacent to London Fields. All apartments have views across the park.

Limited edition prints will be on sale, with proceeds going towards the funding of the Hackney Society’s work.

Now that summer is here, it’s time to head outside. Whether you’re meeting friends for a picnic or looking to top up your tan, living close to a green space in London is always ideal. Here’s our pick of our top properties for sale near a park:

Rufford Street, N1

The last property remaining at the boutique Rufford Mews development is this unique two bedroom penthouse. It overlooks Bingfield Park, which has plenty of green space to relax on as well as a football/basketball court for getting active. Arrange a viewing here.

Bow Wharf, E3

Bow Wharf is a new build residential development overlooking the Hertford Union Canal, on the other side of which is Victoria Park. The park borders Bethnal Green, South Hackney, Cambridge Heath, and Old Ford, and holds two cafes, two playgrounds, sporting facilities, a skatepark, a bathing pond, and over 80 hectares of space. Arrange a viewing here.

Green Lanes, N16

This stunning three bedroom maisonette on Green Lanes is just down the road from the popular Clissold Park in Stoke Newington. Recently renovated in 2011, Clissold Park holds a children’s play area, aviary and animal enclosures, fountains, a multi-use games area, a refreshment kiosk and moreArrange a viewing here.

De Beauvoir Square, N1

As well as having a fabulous garden of its own, this five bedroom, grade II listed property sits on De Beauvoir Square, which is filled with beautiful rose beds, lawn areas, and a children’s play area. Lots of neighbourhood events also take part on the square. The park holds a Green Flag award. The awards are given to the best green spaces in the country and are awarded each year to make sure the quality of the green space remains high. Arrange a viewing here.

Quadra, E8

Quadra is a new development, overlooking London Fields in Hackney. London Fields is a popular spot whatever the weather with people out jogging, barbecuing and relaxing. Every Sunday there is a farmer’s market from 10am to 2pm with an array of produce on offer. Arrange a viewing here.

Poets Road, N5

This charming three bedroom maisonette is a stone’s throw from Islington Green, which straddles the border between Islington and Hackney, and is used like a village green. Community groups hold fairs there, and there is plenty of lawn space to sit and relax, as well as a café and a children’s play area. Arrange a viewing here.

Get on the housing ladder with a deposit of only £9,975

A fantastic opportunity for first time buyers to get on to the housing ladder in this leafy corner of Surrey. There are 45 one and two bedroom apartments available with prices starting at £99,750 for a 35% share of the property.

The apartments come with a contemporary interior specification and all benefit from an allocated parking space.

The developments unique location gives residents access to a wide variety of green spaces and local amenities.  Kingston-upon-Thames is an 18 minute drive and offers outstanding shopping with a healthy mix of high street brands and independent retailers.  There are no less than 6 primary schools located within a mile, two being private and the remaining four receiving Good and Outstanding results from OFSTED at last inspection.

Transport links are excellent – Walton-on-Thames railway station is just 0.5 miles away with frequent services to Basingstoke, Woking, Guildford and London Waterloo.  Road links are superb with the A3, M3 and M25 all easily accessible.

Priority will be given to those living/working in the borough of Walton-on-Thames.

Please contact Currell shared ownership team on 01932 807 418 or sharedownership@currell.com to register your interest.

Last night, Currell held a fantastic wine tasting evening in our Islington branch. The event was hosted by local wine connoisseur and author of Essential Wine Tasting, Michael Schuster.

The event was such a success, guests were still enjoying themselves past midnight, with delicious food and a selection of eight wines to sample. Sarah Curtis, Assistant Manager at Currell Islington, said:

Michael Schuster was very informative & the selection of wines we tasted were very interesting. The committee catered for the evening and the food was delicious.”

In total, a terrific £1,688 was raised. All proceeds will go towards the vital work that the NSPCC does for children. To find out more, see their website.

The Platinum Apartments at Kilburn Quarter comprises 8 three and four bedroom duplexes set over approx. 1631 and 1427 sq. ft. respectively. All have their own private outdoor space and include secure underground parking. Kilburn Quarter is a brand new mixed tenure development in one of London’s most vibrant areas, NW6. Situated on a leafy tree-lined street, the apartments at the Kilburn Quarter development have been designed by award winning architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Alison Brooks.

These eight duplex apartments offer light and space, contemporary design and luxury finishes, making them great family homes. Floor-to-ceiling windows open onto private terraces through double glazed patio doors. All flats include fitted kitchens, en-suite bathrooms and built in storage. Benefitting from the south Kilburn regeneration scheme, the development offers purchasers an opportunity to be part of a new neighbourhood renaissance.

Residents have access to a private central courtyard garden, or the facilities of Paddington Recreation Ground, which is a short walk to the east of the development. Transport links are excellent – Kilburn Park (Bakerloo line) is a seven minute walk from the complex and Kilburn High Road (London Overground) around ten minutes. Kilburn High Road offers frequent bus services to Camden, Shepherds Bush and Oxford Circus.

There are only 3 three bedroom apartments remaining. To book a viewing call 020 3846 8500 or email newhomes@currell.com

Book your viewing for this Saturday 8th July.

Prices from £515,000.

The Shoe Factory is a collection of newly converted, warehouse lofts situated in a former Clarks shoe factory on Tudor Road, E9.

The developer ensured this conversion would preserve all the original features of loft living and because of this attention to detail the building retains a genuine industrial feel throughout. Each loft consists of a large open-plan reception room with brushed timber flooring to all rooms.  All kitchens are open/island kitchens with a selection of Neff integrated appliances and handmade concrete kitchen worktops.

Bathrooms are fitted with traditional and timeless Burlington bathroom suites and selected flats have Electrostatic glazed panelling to bedroom areas enabling clear or frosted privacy glass at the switch of a button.

A limited number of private parking spaces are available by separate negotiation.

The development has excellent transport links, with both London Fields (0.3 miles) and Hackney Central (0.7 miles) stations in close proximity with direct links to Liverpool Street and Stratford respectively.

Please contact Currell New Homes on 0207 722 6611 or newhomesnegotiators@currell.com for further details