This family used an innovative discount scheme to secure the space they needed (Image: Weston Homes)

London’s cheapest neighborhoods, Barking and Dagenham, command higher prices than other areas, attracting many first-time buyers looking for help moving up the property market.

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Among them are Alessandro Sotillaro and his wife Hiori. He bought an off-plan 3-bedroom apartment on Abbey Quay at Weston Homes in Barking through a Discount Market Sale (DMS) scheme.

The couple met at a language school in London in 2010, but at the time they couldn’t afford a place of their own.

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“We wanted children and we both worked, but buying property was unthinkable,” says Alessandro, a 45-year-old health and safety officer.

“The price seemed too high and it seemed like a no-brainer, so I rented it.

So a couple with a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son decided it was time to buy their first home.

Considering buying a new building could be a smart long term financial move due to the cost and upkeep of an older house, it should have good transport links to central London. We have begun to consider new developments.


All About Abbey Key:

abbey key

A big new development has come to Barking (Image: Courtesy)

Abbey Quay is a new urban village overlooking the River Loading in Barking, which is undergoing major regeneration. It consists of 1,089 one-, two-, and three-bedroom mixed-use dwellings, shops, cafes, restaurants, and a gym, just a short walk from the Chuo Line and subway stations.

All houses have a high spec open plan kitchen/living room opening onto a balcony or terrace and are equipped with super fast broadband. Weston Homes also offers its own First SecureBuy (FTSB) scheme.
First time buyers can conditionally reserve a contract without a home plan for a £500 booking fee and conditionally exchange a contract. FTSB can be used in conjunction with the Discount Market Sale (DMS) scheme.

Just one 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom DMS apartment remains, priced at £336,000, while 1-bedroom private sale apartments start at £332,000.

Learn more at Weston Homes.

“My office was in Barking, so I started looking there,” says Alessandro.

“I love my apartment at Weston Homes in Abbey Quay, but at first I didn’t think I could afford it until I found a discount market sales scheme.”

Managed by Weston Homes in collaboration with local governments, the scheme allows people who work or live in Greater London to purchase selected homes at a 20% discount.

These savings remain for the life of the property so future buyers can benefit as well.

Sophisticated interior (Image: Grant Frazer)

Sophisticated interior (Image: Grant Frazer)

Many councils in London and the rest of England operate DMS schemes in association with developers, each of whom sets their own standards and discount levels.

DMS was a game changer for Alessandra and Hiyori.

“We needed three bedrooms, but with £100,000 to spare, we were able to buy a new apartment that suited us perfectly,” says Alessandro, who is moving in next spring.


For the 2-bedroom DMS apartment in Barking:

Purchase amount: £336,000

15% Deposit: £50,400

mortgage: on. £1,184 cfm

Charge for service: on. 175 pounds

Monthly expenditure: on. £1,359

Figures are based on a 35-year mortgage.

“The flat has 2 large double bedrooms, the kids will outgrow but for now we use the 3rd bedroom as an office. Private and secure interior walkway for the kids to play safely and a large private balcony just off the living room.

The school is highly rated by Ofsted and the whole area is changing. Therefore, we are sure that our house will grow and will be a good investment, it is a great achievement for us.

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