How Leanne got a foot on the property ladder

  • Name: Leanne
  • Housing association: L&Q
  • Housing type: Shared ownership

After years of renting in London, Leanne had grown tired of paying for someone else’s mortgage. Waking up for the first time in her own home was the ultimate celebration for her 36th birthday.

One of Leanne’s colleagues at the hospital she works at had bought a home through shared ownership and recommended it to her. After some research, Leanne realised that it was exactly what she was looking for; a low deposit option with mortgage payments that she could afford as a single occupant.

A few months into her search, Leanne discovered L&Q’s Weavers Quarter in Barking, and after a visit to the marketing suite, she put down an offer for a one-bedroom apartment.

Leanne says she was impressed when she visited the marketing suite, so felt confident buying off-plan before her new home had been built. Buying as a shared owner meant the deposit for the apartment was £6,000 – an achievable goal.

Location was a top priority for Leanne in her search. Born and bred in north west London, she had experienced living both north and south of the river, but east London was relatively unchartered territory for her. Leanne knew she wanted to stay close to central London for work, but was shocked by how expensive homes were in the areas where she had previously rented.

Barking & Dagenham is the capital’s most affordable borough, with prices almost half of the London average. An ambitious £2bn plan is in place to revitalise Barking, bringing new restaurants, shops and an art film cinema to the area.

Leanne says Barking reminds her of Camden in the noughties. It’s diverse and buzzing and was just what she was looking for, with a bustling high street five minutes from her apartment.

“I love my apartment! My favourite spot is definitely the kitchen – I cried the first time I saw it. I also love having a cup of tea on the balcony, it has a lovely view over the communal gardens.”

Looking to the future, Leanne already knows she’s going to be there for a long time. She’s started adding personal touches to her home, gradually adding more furniture when she can afford to, and is enjoying making this place her own helped by friends and family. Leanne says she wants to staircase and increase the proportion of the property she owns as soon as she has the finances, so that one day she can own the apartment outright.

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