Bolu Sofoluwe, 24, who moved into a one-bed Pocket home at Harbard Close in Barking last year
A cut-price apartment that’s well-designed and in a desirable neighbourhood might sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what you get when buying a Pocket home.
This innovative developer specialises in building compact, affordable homes in convenient locations for first-time buyers on modest incomes, at discounts of at least 20% compared with the local market value.
At 38sq m, its one-bed apartments are compliant with space standards and so well-planned you don’t notice they’re slightly smaller than average.
Each is divided into three rooms accessed from the hall – an open-plan kitchen/living room, a double bedroom and a wet room with a large walk-in shower.
They all have tall ceilings, full-height windows to maximise light, ample storage and space for a dining table and WFH area, plus communal roof terraces and hubs to foster a sense of community.
The shared spaces and community spirit were among the many selling points for Bolu Sofoluwe, 24, who moved into a one-bed Pocket home at Harbard Close in Barking last year.
Bolu discovered Pocket Living at the London Home Show (Picture: Eleanor Howarth)
After securing a place on a graduate scheme at a bank in Canary Wharf, and moving back to her parents so she could save as much as possible, Bolu focussed on attaining her dream.
‘I was strict with myself and lockdown really accelerated my saving,’ she says. ‘Without the cost of things like fares, I was able to put away as much as 80% of my salary some months.’
Despite all her efforts, Bolu thought a home of her own was a long way off. ‘I’d spend evenings browsing Zoopla and Rightmove,’ she recalls, ‘and never see anything I liked within my budget.’
Just as Bolu was starting to accept that she’d have to move out of the capital, she attended the London Home Show with a friend and found another option.
‘When I came across Pocket Living, I was honestly shocked,’ she says. ‘I didn’t think you could find anything at that price in London. I also fell in love with the concept and registered as soon as I got home!’
When Pocket Living contacted Bolu about buying at Harbard Close, she did not hesitate.
‘I have friends who live in Barking and love it. I couldn’t miss the chance to own a new-build in London,’ she adds. ‘I saw the show flat and was amazed by how spacious it was. A favourite feature is the Garden Room – an extra space you can book to work, entertain friends or for yoga – as well as the shared gardens.’
She likes that the other residents are at a similar life stage. ‘They have all just gone through the process of being a first-time buyer,’ says Bolu. ‘As most are single and live by themselves, they are more open to making friends and getting to know their neighbours. It’s a genuine community.’
The London Home Show at a glance
Where: QEII Centre, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE
When: April 2, 10am-5pm
How to register: Visit sharetobuy.com/homeshow
Hosted by Share to Buy, the country’s leading portal for affordable homes, The London Home Show is a one-stop shop to get on the property ladder.
You’ll hear about thousands of shared ownership and Help to Buy properties across London and the home counties, attend workshops explaining your options and take part in Ask The Expert Q&A sessions.
New for 2022 are Affordability Workshops with first-time buyer mortgage specialists Censeo Financial. You can meet other independent mortgage advisers and solicitors, plus housing providers.
The show’s free but you must register for a ticket.
One-bed apartments at Harbard Close, near Barking Station, start from £192,000 and 80% have now been sold. Pocket will soon launch Addiscombe Grove in East Croydon, with one-beds starting from £260,000.
Woodside Park in North Finchley and Osier Way in Walthamstow launch in the autumn.
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