Getting on the property ladder in St Albans is not easy as average property prices in the city are among the highest in the country.

Shared ownership provides an affordable way to buy a home, by purchasing a share in a new property – typically 25% of the value – and paying a subsidised rent on the part you don’t own. With the option to buy further shares until you own your home outright, it’s a route to home ownership that is becoming increasingly popular for young people and families in and around the city.

As Shared Ownership Week gets underway (21st – 27th September), Hightown housing association talks to one family that has benefited from this initiative.

Andrea and her family moved into a new two-bedroom home in Smallford less than a year ago, entering into a shared ownership agreement with Hightown. Prior to moving in, Andrea, her partner, Andrew and two-year old daughter, Abigail lived in a privately-rented flat near the train station in St Albans. With steep property prices in the area, the family decided that shared ownership was the best option for them as otherwise they would not be able to afford buy.

Andrea said:

“We were shocked when we found out our offer had been accepted. The whole process was really quick. We applied on the Sunday and by Thursday we viewed the house and our offer was accepted.

“Everything was built to a high spec. It seemed really spacious and there’s lots of natural light coming into the house. My daughter really enjoys playing in the garden and I can watch her from the living room knowing she is in a safe space.”

Andrea’s home is one of 11 in Smallford built by Hightown in September 2016. In total, Hightown has 681 properties for shared ownership with 116 in the St Albans district.