Key Worker success through Metropolitan Home Ownership scheme

Reetta Leinonen, 28, used to share a studio flat in Finsbury Park with her partner Matt, 32. It was a small space for a couple, and Reetta felt they were wasting their money by continuing to rent.

"I'd been accepted on a clinical psychology doctorate course," she explained. "So we knew we wanted to be in London for a few more years. We didn't want to continue renting, so we started looking into key worker schemes."

As Reetta is employed by the NHS, she qualifies as a key worker, but she and Matt thought their only option for shared ownership would be in a newbuild block. They didn't want that, preferring to go and find their own place.

"But then I found out about Open Market HomeBuy, where you can look for your own property on the open market," she said. "So we contacted Metropolitan Home Ownership, and had a meeting in their office where everything was explained to us. They sent us loads of material to read through, and I was able to read the stories of others who had bought through the scheme."

The Open Market HomeBuy scheme helps people who can't afford to buy a suitable home outright on the open market by offering an equity loan towards the value of the home. Reetta and Matt started looking around in Walthamstow, because it was relatively
affordable and has good transport links.

"We found a one-bedroom flat with a lovely garden," Reetta continued. "Our purchase price was £190,000, and we took out a mortgage on 75 per cent of that. The other 25 per cent came from Open Market HomeBuy."

Reetta and Matt moved into their new home in February 2008, and are thrilled to have so much extra space to call their own. Their studio was costing £625 a month in rent, and
they now pay £940 a month, but the couple say it's worth every penny. It is also approximately £300 per month more affordable than owning their home outright based on current interest rates.

"It's a bit more money, but it's ours," said Reetta. "It's been such a big change. We used to live in one room, and now we have a lovely big kitchen and a garden where we can have barbeques. Matt works as an IT analyst in central London, so it's easy for him to get to work on the Victoria line.

"We've made it into our own little home. It's just a completely different living experience. We could never have afforded this on our own, so it's great that we could take advantage of the Open Market HomeBuy scheme. I really look forward to coming home

• To find out how Metropolitan Home Ownership can help you into affordable housing visit or call 020 8920 7777

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