Computer programmer Tielman De Villiers has finally fulfilled his dream of getting on the property ladder after Hightown Housing Association helped him secure his own shared ownership flat in Welwyn Garden City.

At the age of 48, and with property prices rising quickly out of his reach, Tielman had almost given up on the thought of owning his own home before Hightown told him about their new shared ownership apartments in Appletree Way.

Tielman now has a 50% share in a smart two-bedroom flat, which is just perfect for his 13-year-old daughter Isabel to stay overnight as well as being convenient for commuting into London.

Originally from South Africa, he had been renting a flat in St Albans following a divorce and was property hunting for just over two years before he fell in love with the Appletree Way shared ownership property being offered by Hightown. Rental and property prices in St Albans are amongst the highest in the country, with the average house price paid £474,545  compared to the UK average of £288,000 .

He said: “I was initially set on finding somewhere in St Albans, but prices were rising quickly and out of my reach. Hightown told me about this flat in Welwyn Garden City and I realised it was much more affordable, had everything I wanted and the location was really convenient.

“When I first looked round I immediately knew this was where I wanted to live – I fell in love with it straight away! I knew I would be able to make it my own space. From the size of the rooms to the fixtures, fittings and ground floor location, everything was just perfect for me. My monthly shared ownership costs are also less than when I was renting in St Albans – so I’ll be around £100 better off each month.”

Keen walker Tielman, who is studying part-time for a Masters in English Literature at Hertfordshire University, also appreciates Panshanger Nature Reserve being on the doorstep as well as the convenience to local shops.

He is eventually hoping to own his own home outright, which the shared ownership scheme enables him to do. “The scheme is just brilliant as it has been a very long dream of mine to get on the property ladder and I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise.

“The whole process has been fantastic and it’s been a pleasure working with Hightown. It’s been a long journey, but they have always remained supportive and informed me as soon as this flat became available. My dream is now a reality, which is a fabulous feeling!”

Shared ownership is an easy and affordable way to buy your own home by purchasing a share in a property and paying subsidised rent on the remaining share. Find out more at