The UK workforce spends over a year of their lives commuting to and from work, and fewer than half are happy with their mode of transport. In contrast, 82% of cyclists who escape busy train carriages find the daily exercise they get helps to boost happiness and relieve stress. For First time buyer, Carolyn Smith, buying her first property through Notting Hill Genesis’ Shared Ownership scheme meant she was able to reduce her daily commute by more than half. Now enjoying a happier and healthier lifestyle with more time to spend on the hobbies she had previously given up, 31-year-old Carolyn successfully purchased a one bedroom apartment at Manor Place Depot, in the sought after and vibrant area of Elephant & Castle.
Carolyn explains: “I had been renting a shared house with friends in Hackney, I had enjoyed being there but it was time for me to move on - I really wanted my own space. My commute to Battersea previously took more than two hours every day, now my cycle commute to work takes me around 20-minutes each way. It has made a huge difference – having the extra time in the mornings and evenings has given me the freedom to pick up my hobbies again, which I had allowed to fall by the wayside because of the long commute. I have joined a rowing club, which I love, and I have also become a member of a nearby gym which I can walk to from home, and I see my friends much more than I used to. I really enjoy hosting and cooking and I feel much more able to do this now, so I usually have people over two or three times a week. Living in a shared house you always worry that what you enjoy doing can impact other people’s downtime, so moving into my own home has given me a real sense of independence.”
“My search began in March, by May I had looked at a few apartments. Working in architecture, I have a keen eye for detail so I was quite fussy about which developments I chose to see. Before I viewed Manor Place Depot, I was fairly confident that I would really like the development. I loved how the disused railway arches have been incorporated and opened up for small businesses, to build a sense of community.
“The location and orientation of Manor Place really appealed to me, it is super central. Elephant and Castle is incredibly well-connected, the tube station is a short walk away so it makes seeing my friends really easy. I was also being fussy about the floor I wanted to live on and which direction I wanted to be facing. I had earmarked exactly which apartment I wanted to view and luckily for me it was still available. I wasn’t disappointed, I put my offer in, it was accepted and after that everything moved very quickly – from offering to moving in it took around eight weeks.”
“I have a really big balcony opening from the lounge. I also have some stunning views. I can see The London Eye to the north so I will be able to see the New Years’ Eve fireworks! Battersea Power Station is visible to the west and on a clear day I can see all the way to Crystal Palace. I am really enjoying my new home; I have lots of storage which is so helpful. My kitchen is lovely and the layout is great for entertaining. Every room is really light and airy, even on a dark day it’s really bright.”
“This is such a great place to live, it’s definitely on the up. There is a great collection of charity shops on Walworth Road, most weekends I go along for a browse.
Carolyn shares her thoughts on the Shared Ownership scheme: “I would definitely recommend this scheme. I purchased a 25% share in a one-bedroom apartment with a full market value of £445,000, using a £16,000 deposit. My monthly rent is £720, my monthly mortgage is £350 and the service charge is just over £100 per month. Shared Ownership has allowed me to buy my own property in London; there is no way I would even be able to rent a one-bedroom apartment in this area for the same money. The scheme has given me the opportunity to build a financial investment. Renting provides a good short-term solution, but it does come with anxieties as the property is never your own – now I feel like I have a strong sense of security which I didn’t have before.”