How I bought my first home: 10 years of saving, cheap rented house shares and Help to Buy got me on the ladder

Clara Ramsdale moved from her home in London at 21 to pursue a career in law. She didn’t know that it would take her more than a decade to save and house-share before she could afford a home of her own. In an ideal world, she would have purchased a flat in Hackney. However, prices were too high so she looked across the border to Walthamstow. Last April, she reserved a one bedroom flat at Blackhorse View,, a new development on Blackhorse Road. I chose to live in areas where rent was affordable, stayed in shared homes for a while longer than I wanted, and tried to be responsible. Not only is it more expensive than Hackney but it is also central to a GBP200m regeneration. It is also close to central London’s transport links (Zone 3, Victoria Line). She had saved for years and was able to deposit a GBP60,000. She also took out a Help to Buy loan to pay the GBP390,000 mortgage. Ms Ramsdale moved in to the flat in January. Although her monthly mortgage payments are significantly lower than her rent, she is finding that living alone is much more expensive than renting. She says that the bills are what is most noticeable. “My council tax is higher if I live on my own. There’s also the GBP1,424 per annum service charge that comes with a block. The upside is that the modern flat is well-insulated so running costs are low. She said that she started saving as soon as I got a job. “I lived in cheap places, stayed in shared homes for a while longer than I wanted, and tried to be as sensible as possible. I have never tapped into my savings or overdraft. “READ MOREHow to buy: “After six years of savings, we’ve slashed GBP500 per month our living expenses and 50 minutes off the commute to work. London first-time buyers: ‘My mortgage, bills, and rent cost the same as renting in an apartment in a houseshare.’ We left London: Ms Ramsdale furnished her flat and is excited about exploring Blackhorse Road’s bars and cafes, and the Walthamstow Wetlands which she can see from her own home. She said that she is looking forward to a summer near the water and that her apartment couldn’t have been closer. The views from the reservoirs are amazing. “You can see the wetlands to Canary Wharf and the Shard from here.”