Search for affordable homes across London
FIRST STEPS is the official intermediate housing programme from the Mayor of London helping low and modest income Londoners to buy or rent at a price they can afford. On this site you can find all the FIRST STEPS properties in one place, advertised in partnership with affordable homes property portal sharetobuy.com. Start searching for your new home through FIRST STEPS in three easy steps:
28th April 2016
Our latest blog is a quick look at Shared Ownership - who it it for and how does it help?
17th March 2016
Southern Home Ownership has been helping buyers into affordable home ownership for over 30 years. We've helped more than 4000 households make home ownership a reality and with the Government prioritising home ownership for first time buyers, 2016 is set to be a great year to get on the property ladder.
This is why we’re proud to be official sponsors of the London Home Show Spring 2016
15th March 2016
Our latest guest blog comes from Lucy Chitty, Assistant Director of Sales at leading housing provider L&Q.
Lucy takes you through the differences between Shared Ownership and Help-to-Buy – helping you to work out what’s best for you.
11th March 2016
Buying your first home means making big decisions. This guest blog from London Home Show Spring 2016 sponsor, Barclays, takes you through the range of mortgage options they have available to first time buyers.
FIRST STEPS is committed to the promotion of all types of accessible housing in London. We want to make the journey into your new home as simple as possible and to be sure that you know what to look for when searching for an affordable accessible home. All developments must be rated according to the type of accessibility they offer. That is why we have the following guide, based on the information provided in the Mayor of London's Accessible Housing Register, to help you understand what the rating of each property actually means.
A - Wheelchair Accessible Throughout
Meets the design standards from the Wheelchair Housing Design Guide which superseded the Housing Corporation wheelchair design standards. These properties have been designed to meet latest wheelchair accessible housing design standards, offering extra space and full access to all rooms and facilities. This standard provides more space than previous wheelchair housing design guidance and also ensures that all rooms are accessibly. In view of the high density of new build housing stock in London, the parking features have been excluded from this category. This will enable wheelchair accessible homes built above ground floor level to be categorised as such.
B - Wheelchair Accessible essential rooms
Complies with the Wheelchair Housing Design Guidance within the Housing Corporation Scheme Development Standards. Properties designed of adapted to provide access for wheelchair users to essential facilities of the property (that is, a bedroom, bathroom, toilet, living room and kitchen). Other rooms in the house such as additional bedrooms or bathrooms may not be wheelchair accessible.
C - Lifetime Homes
Meets the space standards of the Lifetime Homes developed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Designed to meet the space standards of Lifetime Homes. Main features include a level approach/entrance and wider doorways. This category will capture all new general needs housing built to Lifetime Homes standards. Properties achieving this category will not necessarily meet all Lifetime Homes design guidance as the LAHR framework does not assess features other than space and access. Properties may have an internal flight of stairs. If so, these will be wide enough to accommodate future provision of a stair lift subject to technical feasibility.
D - Easy Access
Compatible with the design standards in Mobility Standard Housing (1974) produced by the DoE and Housing Corporation Scheme Development Standards (pre-1999) and Part M of Building Regulations (2000). The main features of these properties include a level approach to the entrance, wider doorways and more space than in general needs housing. These properties may also have an internal flight of stairs and if so, there is enough space to accommodate future provision of a stair lift subject to technical feasibility.
E - Step Free
No published access design guidance. These are properties that are considered general needs housing but have a level approach/entrance into the property and throughout. Properties in this category that have an internal flight of stair will be likely to accommodate future provision of a stair lift subject to technical feasibility.
E+. Minimal steps
No published access design guidance. Properties that do not meet any accessibly housing design guidance and have a limited number of steps to enter the property. Properties in this category will have no more than four steps to access the front door and are likely to be ground floor properties or properties in a block with a lift and a small number of communal or property front door steps.
F - General Needs
General needs housing does not meet any of the above criteria. Properties in this category will have more than four steps or a ramp access that is steeper than 1:10 to access the property front door. These properties should be marketed with the number of steps to access the property as this will provide an additional factor for helping people choosing what to bid for.
The Accessible Housing Register captures the essential information which determines the category awarded to a property. Additional information is also collected. This includes:
- Details of major adaptations such as level access showers and stair lifts
- Private garden or balcony
- Proximity to local shops
- Proximity to public transport
What is intermediate housing?
Historically, the phrase intermediate housing has been used to refer to schemes targeted at aspirant home owners neither earning a low enough salary to qualify for social rent or a high enough salary to buy a property in the traditional manner (i.e. on the open market). When we say that FIRST STEPS is the Mayor of Londons official intermediate housing scheme, we mean it is the Mayors brand for affordable home ownership schemes available in London intended to help low and modest income Londoners to bridge the gap between renting and buying.
What affordable housing products does FIRST STEPS offer?
FIRST STEPS offers you two main product options across London:
- Shared Ownership: you purchase a new or existing home from a housing association. You purchase the maximum share in the property that you can afford with a minimum requirement of 25% and pay rent on the remaining share (often referred to as part buy part rent or part rent part buy). Properties are either brand new or being sold by existing shared owners as a resale. The rent on the outstanding share is usually set a maximum of 3% on the value of that share when the home is first sold. Rent levels on resale homes can be higher. Find out more about Shared Ownership
- Rent to save: you rent for a fixed period, up to five years, at up to 80% of the equivalent market rent for that property, with a fixed rate of inflation. A savings plan is put into place to help you save for a deposit. At any point during the tenancy you can purchase on shared ownership or shared equity terms. If you are no longer wish or are able to buy you can end your tenancy on the terms of your agreement. Find out more about Rent to save
Where can I find shared ownership properties and Rent to Save homes advertised on the internet?
In February 2013, the Mayor of London selected Share to Buy ltd as his partner to host all FIRST STEPS homes online from April 2013. This makes sharetobuy.com/london the offical portal for finding shared ownership and Rent to save homes throughout the capital.