Shared ownership in Wandsworth offered perfect solution to first time buyers

“We discovered Willow Walk, over the road from where we were housesitting, and never looked back!” James Sanchez, Purchaser


From parental home to first home with partner, shared ownership unlocks the door for young couple buying in Wandsworth 

For James Sanchez (25) and Annabelle Hillard (26), the shared ownership scheme has opened the doors to becoming homeowners and now they are keen to encourage others to do the same. The young couple, James a 3D visualiser and Annabelle a children’s toy inventor, have been enjoying the flexibility, independence and opportunity which has come since purchasing their dream home at Peabody New Homes' Willow Walk in Wandsworth. 

Despite the increasing cost of living and rising interest rates, the young couple managed to take a huge leap from living separately with their parents, to living together and owning a 25% share of their new one-bedroom apartment in South West London. James comments: “Prior to our new home, I lived with my parents in Milton Keynes and Annabelle lived with hers in Surrey, so we were keen to move out and start a new chapter together. We both worked in the city, Annabelle in West London and me in Clapham, so commuting time was another pull factor to looking at property options in London.” 


Shared Ownership is a scheme that offers a crucial option for many first-time buyers

Already aware of the scheme, which has been a crucial route for many first-time buyers, the couple also had friends who were shared ownership success stories. James and Annabelle were originally torn between renting and buying but after looking at the London rent rates, they realised this would not be financially possible. James comments: “We thought, what’s the best middle ground between renting and buying, and shared ownership was the perfect solution.” 

The couple’s journey to finding Willow Walk and their dream home was a unique story, one of falling in love with a location by chance. James explains: “One of our friends was going away for a while and asked us to house sit in Wandsworth. This was the first time Annabelle and I had lived together and as well as realising we loved living together, we also realised we loved the location. The flat was in fact opposite the apartment we ended up purchasing! It was perfect for us; it cut my commuting time from 1 hour 30 minutes to a 20-minute bus ride; the river and all the nearby walks were another selling point for us. We discovered Willow Walk, over the road from where we were housesitting and never looked back!” 


One bedroom apartment with an "impressive size of the living area"

“We looked around the show home and were shocked at the impressive size of the living area, even in a one-bedroom apartment. A key priority for us was to have room for friends to come round as we love hosting dinner parties. We also loved the private balcony and this was essentially why we chose the top floor; the big windows, lots of natural light and the views onto the river. Also, we wanted a home with energy efficient appliances and this also encouraged our choice. We benefit from solar panels and geothermic rods, and although we don’t have a rental to compare it to, we are confident that this was the best choice for us and keeping our bills manageable.” 

James comments on the financial aspects of being first-time buyers: “After saving whilst living at our parents, we managed to put down a deposit of £14,000 and now pay £850 a month each, which includes rent, mortgage and service charges. We are so proud to have financed the deposit and monthly fees on our own and we plan to staircase in the future.” 


Our first time buyers at Willow Walk have fallen in love with Wandsworth

“We just love the area, particularly the nearby open space as we are both very active; I enjoy mountaineering and hiking and Annabelle enjoys Pilates. The Thames Path is on our doorstep and we wander along the river pretty much every day. We also frequently go to Wandsworth Park and Battersea Park and have found the local community to be mainly young professionals like us, which is nice. Our favourite nearby eatery is the Kat café and we also like going to Clapham Junction for food and drink.” 

As first-time buyers, the couple were grateful for Peabody New Homes’ help and support during their home buying journey. James comments: “Peabody New Homes were great in answering all our questions, double explaining everything and telling us the information we needed. Ilona was our key contact and she was wonderful, she gave us extra viewings and helped us on moving day. Regarding the shared ownership scheme, I have already recommended it to my friends and helped them with the process – I would encourage all those looking to buy to consider the scheme.”