How Amanda bought her first home with zero savings

The following is an illustrative example of how the District 34 Homeownership Accelerator Scheme works for members who do not currently have a deposit and require a Help to Buy equity loan.

Amanda is the typical London worker: she earns the average London salary of £39,476 and commutes to Central London everyday to work.


She has just paid off her student loans and has no deposit saved up – no thanks to her rent of £1,000 a month for her house-share.

Homeownership looks like a distant dream: the average property price is over £600,000 across London. The deposit alone will take over a decade for Amanda to save up for.

One day, after her landlord announces yet another painful rent increase for Amanda and her housemates, she decides she has had enough and applies to join District 34.

Little did she know: within weeks she would be on a rocket ship to buy her first home in two years.


Meanwhile at District 34 HQ


Amanda’s application is one of hundreds received by District 34 that day, and each is individually qualified to ensure we only let in real first-time buyers.

Successful applications are fed into our “brain” – a sophisticated tech platform that stores billions of data points, including house prices, train data, migration patterns, and planning applications.

As it turns out, Amanda is not alone: there are hundreds of other applicants who commute to the same train station she does, earn a similar salary, and are also looking to buy their first home.

District 34 then springs into action. Backed by our institutional capital, we target and acquire an early-stage development that fits the bill: a brand new apartment building, half an hour by train to Amanda’s workplace station, and priced at £200,000 for a one-bed flat. In this case, like most new-build schemes, construction will take around two years.

District 34 upgrades the building specs, works with world-class artists and designers such as Framestore, and then makes the properties available exclusively to our members. No overseas investors or buy-to-let landlords – our buildings are designed for real people.

With new-build properties, District 34 members benefit from:

  • Low 5% deposit with Help to Buy (subject to eligibility)
  • No stamp duty up to £300,000
  • 10-year new homes warranty
  • 2-year warranty on all appliances
  • Hassle-free – no need to spend more money on repairs or refurbishments
  • Chain-free
  • No risk of gazumping / dealing with unreliable private sellers


Back in Amanda’s room


Amanda receives an email from District 34 a few weeks after submitting her application, notifying her of the new building.

She sets up a coffee appointment with one of the team to find out more, and attends the launch held near her workplace. There, she meets the development team, the architects, and the data science team at District 34.

Amanda likes what she sees and registers her interest for a brand-new one-bed flat with District 34. As she is eligible for the Help to Buy equity loan, an interest-free loan from the government for 20% of the property price, Amanda only needs to save up a 5% deposit.

(Note: Amanda can only register her interest at this point, and not reserve her property, as she requires a Help to Buy equity loan. Under the Help to Buy rules, she can only reserve her property 6 months in advance, not two years.)

Had Amanda not required Help to Buy in order to buy her apartment, she would be able to reserve her preferred apartment straightaway and exchange contracts with a 10% deposit.


Finally, a reason to save


With District 34’s help, Amanda signs up to a two-year regular savings plan with the bank of her choice to help her reach her target.

Six months before completion (the earliest possible time as dictated by the Help to Buy scheme), armed with her hard-saved deposit, Amanda is now able to reserve her apartment. She gets in touch with District 34 and reserves one of the remaining one-bed apartments for sale in the building.

This kicks off the buying process.

The District 34 team is by Amanda’s side throughout, working with the Help to Buy agent, her mortgage broker, and her conveyancer so that she gets the three key components in place to complete on her property: the Help to Buy loan, the mortgage offer, and the legal documentation.

No gazumping.
No housing chains.
No estate agents.

Amanda is now on her way to saying goodbye to her landlord!


How the numbers work

Property price£200,000
Mortgage offer£150,000
Help to Buy loan£40,000
Stamp dutyFree
Homebuying costsFree (covered by District 34)
Deposit required£10,000


Amanda has until the property completes to save up her deposit. That means she has two years to save £10,000 – that is £14 a day. If she forgoes her daily Starbucks and packs her own lunch, Amanda will be able to afford her own home in two years.

As a homeowner, Amanda’s monthly housing costs are cheaper than when she was renting a house-share:


Source: Help to Buy mortgage calculator


At District 34, we use cutting-edge data science technologies to get London renters onto the housing ladder.

Interested in the scheme? Apply here today, or meet us for coffee if you have more questions.


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