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Meet Jen & Luke

Jen Luke Web

Engaged couple Jen Carter (26) and Luke Bradley-Driver (25) had been living separately with their parents so they could save a deposit for a home together. Knowing that they wouldn’t be able to afford a full mortgage made shared ownership the perfect option for them to get on the property ladder. Now they’ve moved into their own two-bedroom apartment at Castle View on the edge of Newbury, and the couple are happier than ever.

“One of our friends bought their home with shared ownership and it seemed to work for them, and Jen’s aunt is still in the same house she bought with shared ownership 20 years ago. It’s a good way of getting on the property ladder, and we’re getting a bit more back than if we were renting. It’s much more affordable than Help to Buy as you still need to be able to get a large mortgage if you buy that way," said Luke.

The couple put down an £11,000 deposit with Leeds Building Society on a 40% share of their home and pay a monthly rent of £268.75 on top of their mortgage repayments, plus a service charge for the upkeep of the communal areas.

Read more of Jen & Luke's story

Meet Freya & William


Young engaged couple Freya Jones-Griffiths and William Wysocki thought the only way they’d ever be able to move in together was to rent in the private sector. Then Freya saw an advert on Facebook for shared ownership properties at Sovereign Living’s Hanham Hall development, just outside Bristol. The couple decided to take the plunge, and they’re now proud owners of a two-bedroom semi-detached coach house at this exciting new sustainable, zero-carbon development. 

“We noticed that Hanham Hall was right in the middle between my parents’ house and William’s mum’s house,” recalls Freya, who works nights as a supervisor at a major supermarket, where William also works. “We’d been looking at renting, but it was going to cost us seven or eight hundred pounds a month – and then there’s bills on top of that. Shared ownership was going to be a lot more realistic for us, and would help us get on the property ladder, too.”

After paying 5% of a £78,000 share of the house, Freya and her fiancé pay monthly mortgage payments of £415 and rent of £98.50. She says: “It’s so much cheaper than renting! This time last year we couldn’t have imagined we’d own a house. We really wanted to, but we thought it was never going to be possible – it would have taken us forever to save enough for a deposit.”

Read more of Freya & William's story

Meet Lisa


Hi, my name is Lisa and I have just completed on my first home - a converted top floor apartment in the beautiful Himley Lodge on St Johns Road in Newbury. One thing I can say is I would not be living here without the help of the Sovereign Living Help to Buy Shared Ownership Scheme. For those of you who are thinking of buying a home and do need help, I made a journal of my experience for you. I work in estate agency so am constantly on the property sites and that is where it all began...

Read Lisa's diary

Meet Vanessa


Living with her parents again after splitting up with her partner, call centre manager Vanessa Ryce needed a fresh start but believed that her options were limited. She applied for a shared ownership property from Sovereign Living, and just three months later moved into her own maisonette with a garden at the new Great Western Park development in Didcot.  

“I was sleeping on a camp bed, and really didn’t want to be back with my mum and dad forever,” recalls Vanessa. Then one of her friends asked if she’d thought about ‘part rent, part buy’. “I knew about shared ownership, but I honestly never thought I’d qualify,” she explains. “I’ve got a full time job, and don’t have any kids – I just didn’t think I would be eligible.” 

Vanessa put down a deposit of £6,000, and is now paying a mortgage on 40% of the property and rent on the remainder, which is owned by Sovereign. She says: “It’s very affordable – the rent and mortgage payments together come to £620 per month; I couldn’t rent a flat for that around here. 

“I’ve never felt so happy and confident in my life. I look around every single day and think: ‘I love my home!’.”

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Meet Steve

Steve Pickover

When Steve Pickover retired, his options seemed limited. He needed to repay the mortgage on his house in full, and was told that after he was 65 he would not be able to take out another. Renting looked like the only solution. Applying for a shared ownership home with Sovereign Living, however, has enabled Steve to buy a two-bedroom new build house in Dove Hill, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

“I didn’t really know what to do,” Steve remembers. “I planned to sell my three-bedroom house to repay the loan, but I wasn’t eligible to take out another mortgage – and even if I could have my pension income wouldn’t have covered the monthly payments.”

Steve then came across the idea of shared ownership, and it re-opened a door he thought was closed to him forever: the possibility of remaining on the property ladder, with a share in a place of his own. “I looked at the Sovereign Living website, and realised I could probably afford the lower deposit required to buy the homes I was seeing there,” he says.

 In September 2013 Steve found the two-bedroom house he now lives in, on the new Dove Hill development in Stroud. “I called up and arranged to meet the Sovereign Living sales consultant, Melanie Stone. We had a look around – it was still only half built by that point, but I was keen to buy it!”

Now he’s settled in, and is relishing having his own home once again.

Read more of Steve's story

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