Meet the Warwickshire man who bought his first home aged 21
Dominic Owen-Smith lives in a two-bedroom house in Southam using Orbit Homes shared ownership scheme
With many young people currently living with their parents the dream of having their own place can look like a long way off. The 'bank of mum and dad' may provide one way out but often whatever money you can borrow will not be a match for ever-rising house prices. Shared ownership is one way for first-time buyers to climb on to the property ladder.
For a low deposit they can own a share of a brand new property and pay rent on the remainder. This is a route which Dominic Owen-Smith took when he wanted to fly the nest. Selling his car and using some of his savings, Dominic put a £8,400 deposit down through Orbit Homes to buy a two-bedroom Marsham-style home worth £230,000 in Southam.
What makes this all the more remarkable is that Dominic is just 21 years old. He turned his dream into a reality in just three years.
He said: "When I turned 18 I took a loan out to purchase a car - knowing one day that this would be put into something else. It was an investment or a way of saving money.
"When the time finally came, I sold the car and the money from this became my deposit for my house. I also put money away while I was earning from my job as a engineer.
"When I announced to my friends and family that I was buying a house it came as a surprise. My family are very proud of my achievement, as are my friends. No one thought it would be possible for someone as young as me to obtain this so early on in life."
Dominic's two-bedroom house came with integrated appliances in the kitchen, its own private drive and fitted carpets. It also had a large south-facing garden.
Orbit Homes helped him with the buying process every step of the way. They explained how shared ownership worked and even recommended a solicitor who specialises in new builds and shared ownership to Dominic.
He added: "I heard about shared ownership through word of mouth and online. You don't really learn about it in school.
"I could not afford to own a house outright. It just was not do-able for me. My financial situation was a bit on the tight side.
"I looked round the local area for properties and they just did not meet the criteria I was looking for. They were not as well built as those from Orbit.
"I just fell in love with the house which Orbit offered and the services they provided. Orbit offered a lot of support for me. It was less daunting than I thought it would be. "It was a good, clean buying experience from start to finish. I'm very happy with the property."
Unsurprisingly Dominic would recommend shared ownership – and Orbit Homes - to many people of his age. He believes you are never too young to step on to the property ladder.
He said: "If you had told me when I was 18 - standing in front of a car I had just bought - ‘that’s your deposit to a house’, I would have said you were mad.
"It’s that one thing in life that seems unobtainable until you're a ‘grown up’. But thanks to the shared ownership scheme, it’s allowed me and many others to make their dream a reality.
"Shared ownership is a brilliant opportunity for young people like me to get a chance to get on the property ladder. I have achieved my life goal of getting a house."
You can read the original story on the Coventry Telegraph website here.
What is shared ownership?
Shared ownership provides an affordable way for you to take the first step onto the property ladder. Simply buy a share in a new home and pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share.
The initial share you buy will usually be between 25% and 75% of the full purchase price. It is tailored to suit your circumstances - meaning it is not only affordable for you now but in the future too.
In most cases you have the opportunity to purchase further shares in your home if you wish to - this is known as ‘staircasing’. When you purchase further shares in your home the rent reduces accordingly. If you staircase to 100% ownership there is no rent to pay.
A variety of homes may be available from one bedroom apartments right through to large family homes.