Help to Buy unlocks one couple’s first home

Published: December 2018

Since the launch of Help to Buy, around 169,100 first time buyers in England have used the equity loan scheme to get onto the property, and with the Treasury’s recent announcement that it will be extended until 2023, this figure will continue to climb. One couple, Laurence Hinton (30) and his wife Jessica (26), decided to use Help to Buy to purchase their first home: a stylish three-bedroom townhouse at Barratt Homes’ Chapel Gate development in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

The couple had been renting the top floor of a shared flat in Richmond for nine months but were determined to become homeowners. With the average house price in the London Borough costing £909,750, Laurence and Jessica knew that they needed to widen their search. Location was still a key factor in their house search, and after discovering Chapel Gate in Basingstoke, the couple were impressed with what the development and local area had to offer. What’s more, as the development was so close to the train station, their commute was still very manageable.

Laurence, a Marketeer for a wine company, comments: “We knew that Richmond wasn’t an option so we looked at all the commuter towns in the South West. We were really drawn to Basingstoke as it has a bit of everything – we have beautiful countryside on our doorstep, can easily reach the coast for a daytrip, and London is a straightforward journey. The town itself is lovely and we can see its future potential as there are improvements being made all the time.”

“Our intention was always to buy a home, so we started saving as soon as we could. We both had Help to Buy: ISAs, which helped to keep us on track with savings. Without Help to Buy, we wouldn’t have been able to get onto the property ladder so soon. The best part of it all for us is that all of our outgoings, from mortgage payments to gym memberships, now add up to the same amount that we were paying just on rent in Richmond!”

Launched in 2013, Help to Buy is the government’s equity loan scheme, through which the government lend buyers up to 20% of the cost of their new home. From April 2021 until 2023, the scheme will be open to first time buyers only. There will also be caps placed on the value of properties which can be purchased using the scheme, with prices at a maximum of 1.5 times the current forecasted average first time buyer values within each region, with a maximum of £600,000 set in London.

Lynnette St-Quintin, Sales Director for Barratt Southern Counties, comments: “Help to Buy has been crucial in getting first time buyers onto the property ladder since its introduction, and Barratt welcomes the news that the scheme will be extended further. It is fantastic that Laurence and Jessica were able to use the scheme to purchase their first home, and we encourage first time buyers in particular to take advantage of the helpful scheme.”

Laurence and Jessica have settled into life at Chapel Gate and have enjoyed having guests to stay over most weekends since they moved in – something which was impossible in their previous home. Alongside socialising with friends, the couple are able to go for a run in the local area in the mornings and explore all that Basingstoke has to offer. An added bonus is that Jessica, who works as a primary school teacher, and Laurence have a hassle-free commute down the M3 to Weybridge.

Laurence continues: “When we moved out of Richmond, we thought we would miss being in London, but the benefits of owning such a spacious new home are worth it. I would encourage first time buyers in a similar position to us to consider moving further away from London as you do get more for your money. Chapel Gate is a brilliant place to live, and there is a real community atmosphere here.”

Chapel Gate is conveniently placed in the centre of Basingstoke, Hampshire, and is a short walk away from the Festival Place shopping centre. Residents will be able to find a range of leading retailers, including John Lewis and Waitrose, restaurants, pubs and bars. For those looking to enjoy the outdoors, the North West Downs are just a short drive away.

Basingstoke railway station is just a five minute walk from the development and offers a journey time to London Waterloo in 44 minutes, while Reading can be reached in 16 minutes. The development is located nearby to the M3, connecting residents to the south coast and the M25.

Currently on offer at Chapel Gate is a collection of one- and two-bedroom apartments. Prices start from £202,995 for a one-bedroom apartment with a private balcony and one parking space. With Help to Buy, this can be secured with a 5% deposit of just of £10,000.

Buyers interested in finding out more about Help to Buy or the homes at Chapel Gate should contact a Sales Advisor on 0844 273 3861 or visit