Case study, Fresh Wharf

Long-term renter, David finds his dream home at Fresh Wharf

For long-term renter David Littlejohn, 39, taking advantage of government support to invest in his future and buy his first home at Fresh Wharf, Countryside’s new development in Barking, was a no brainer. A catering manager in central London, David had rented the same one-bedroom apartment in Earlsfield, south-west London, for the previous eight years, and thought he would never be able to step onto the property ladder.

But thanks to government initiatives like Help to Buy, which provides an interest-free loan of 40% of the purchase price, David was able to purchase a two-bedroom apartment for £395,000 at Fresh Wharf, where Countryside is creating a new waterside destination with over 900 new homes, along with new shops, cafes and parks, in partnership with Notting Hill Genesis. David commented: “I had consigned myself to renting permanently, but government schemes such as Help to Buy and the stamp duty holiday encouraged me to have a look to see if it was possible to buy my first home and ultimately, to save some money.”

David originally began his property search in south London, however he couldn’t find an area that grabbed him. David commented: “I then found Fresh Wharf about four weeks into lockdown, where the value for money was really good, allowing me to afford a two-bedroom apartment.” Having been spending £1,350 a month on rent, David now expects his mortgage and other costs to come to only £950 a month, marking a saving of around £400. “I’ve gained an extra bedroom, plus I’ll be saving plenty of money each month instead of seeing it disappear on rent.”

David added: “Nothing drew me quite like Fresh Wharf – it’s where I see myself living. I really like the fact that Fresh Wharf has got commercial space, with a coffee shop already signed up and a restaurant planned too. It will all help to create that sense of community and it’s a really exciting development. The homes are beautifully laid out too, with great styling and high-quality fittings on the inside. This really appealed to me, and then when I did some more research into what’s going on in Barking at the moment it made even more sense.”

Research published in the Evening Standard shows that the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has seen the highest house price growth across London over the past five years, with prices rising by an impressive 51%, out-performing both the east London average of 37%, and the London average of 9%. David commented: “Barking has the fastest-growing house prices in London, which reflect the efforts being made by the council, so purely in terms of investment it’s a really great area to be. As an area itself it’s also really attractive; on the walk to Fresh Wharf from the town centre through Abbey Fields you don’t feel like you’re in London anymore.

David has bought in the first phase of Fresh Wharf, with the first completions expected in early 2021: “I’m getting in relatively early – in fact I’m happy there’ll still be building work going on as the value should increase once it’s all completed. In financial mode, it’s a no-brainer, plus the development met all of my ‘non-negotiables’, with two bedrooms, outside space in the form of a beautiful balcony, and a journey under 45 minutes into work.”

David was extremely positive about the customer journey: “Dealing with Countryside was probably the best bit of the whole process, as I never felt like I was being sold to and found that negotiating with the developer directly was quite refreshing. The attitude of other agencies I spoke to wasn’t great, whereas Countryside were interested in me and what I wanted – and I still got a great deal!”

Launched in October 2019, construction is well underway on the first phase of Fresh Wharf, Countryside’s vibrant new riverside development in Barking. The initial completions of the first phase, which will deliver 532 homes, are expected in early 2021, with the entire development due to complete by 2026.

One- and two-bedroom apartments are still available with London Help to Buy.