The greatest challenge for working Londoners is finding a deposit to buy a home – prices are going up faster than people can save. Dolphin Living, together with Westminster City Council, have developed the Westminster Home Ownership Accelerator Scheme (the Accelerator).

Targeting those who live or work in Westminster, the scheme helps people access home ownership, who otherwise might find it difficult to accumulate the necessary savings. We recognise that people living in very high value areas such as Westminster are at a disadvantage to residents in outer London boroughs, who will typically have access to shared ownership and other low-cost home ownership products. The Accelerator scheme aims to rebalance this.

How it works

The Accelerator scheme offers successful applicants the chance to take a three year lease of one of our rental properties at 65% of the market rent. This will enable someone to save significantly more towards a deposit during this period and this deposit will then be topped up by Dolphin Living at the end of their tenancy and where they will move into home ownership.

Each applicant must live or work in Westminster, be able to demonstrate that they have savings of £22,500 and qualify for intermediate housing in the City of Westminster. The income threshold for applications reflects the Mayoral intermediate limit of £90,000.

Depending on the growth of the London housing market the final deposit amassed by the participant could be between £43,000 and £77,000, with the intention of using this towards the purchase of a property within Greater London, either through full or shared ownership.

All properties run by us for this scheme will continue to be used for the same purpose following a tenant’s three year occupancy, so the next prospective applicant can benefit from the Accelerator in the same way.

A couple with one child under two moved into a two bedroom Dolphin Living home at Lanhill Road in early 2017. She is a self employed artist and he is a partner in a start-up event management company, and they have a combined annual income of £52,000. In their Dolphin Living home their monthly rent was £1,335.

In May 2020, after three years on the Accelerator scheme and with a second child, they were able to purchase a 3 bedroom new build town house in the London Borough of Brent.

Dolphin Living were able to give them a £19,600 grant and combined with their savings of £31,450, and a 35% Help to Buy loan they could purchase their £600,000 new home with a £359,000 mortgage.