SAVING £10,000 A YEAR
Years of saving, packed lunches, cycling to work, a “selective” attitude to their social lives, and a big dollop of compromise helped propel Vicki Shannon and her husband Pete on to the property ladder. And just at the right time.
The couple bought a three-bedroom garden flat in Thornton Heath in Croydon — and later this year Vicki, 29, will give birth to twins, creating an instant family.
Vicki, a health visitor, and Pete, 31, an architect, had been living in Battersea, paying £1,350 a month for a “tiny” one-bedroom flat.
The prospect of a rent rise persuaded them it was time to buy. As they had been saving since they married in 2013, they had a deposit ready to go.
“We aimed to save £10,000 a year which was do-able,” says Vicki. “We saved in lots of little ways. It sounds really boring but we planned our meals and did a big online shop every week, I took on extra shifts and we cycled to work.”
They were also flexible about where they were prepared to live.
Pete’s only prerequisite was that he wanted to be able to cycle to work in the City in no more than an hour.
Eventually they settled on Thornton Heath and in 2016 paid £350,000 for their home in a newly renovated period terrace, putting down a 10 per cent deposit.
“I had never even heard of Thornton Heath,” admits Vicki. But she and Pete fell in love with the apartment and were willing to overlook the fact that the area lacked the café culture and restaurants to which most millennials aspire.
Becoming homeowners has made Vicki and Pete something of a rare breed. According to free credit score provider noddle.co.uk only 14 per cent of 20- to 35-year-olds in the UK own their own home, and more than one in 10 have given up on the idea altogether.
But owning has been cheaper than renting for Vicki and Pete. Their mortgage comes in at £1,170 a month, meaning they have been able to invest in upgrading the “developer finish” on the flat, doing such work as replacing a faux-granite worktop and orangey timber floors.
“Being able to buy a property we could live in for five or 10 years is so lucky,” says Vicki. “Otherwise we could still be in an expensive one-bedroom flat in Battersea with twins.”
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