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A First-Time Buyers’ guide to the London elections

Tomorrow London goes to the polls to elect a new Mayor of London. The Mayor is responsible for making London a great place to live, work and visit. For example the Mayor is responsible for things such as policing, transport and the fire service. But significantly for first time buyers, the Mayor has important housing powers. The Mayor must produce a housing strategy to invest in London’s housing and to meet the needs of London’s growing population.

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Pocket receives strategic investment from US company

Related Companies makes a ground-breaking strategic investment in Pocket

We are extremely excited to announce that we have attracted a new investor to Pocket. This week we became equity partners with Related Companies, the largest owner and developer of affordable housing in the US. This strategic investment in Pocket is a trail-blazing deal as it brings investment from across the pond into the UK’s affordable housing market.  Related have acquired a 50% stake in Pocket, and will be working with us to scale up our delivery of discounted flats for sale and rent in London.

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Pocket bond on Crowdcube attracts double-investors

So good they invested twice

 

W_MG_6173e launched the first Pocket bond on Crowdcube back in March 2015, offering 7.5% interest over a four year term, and we quickly achieved our funding goal.  Our second bond, the Pocket Land Bond, launched last week and we are already 10% funded, thanks to a good level of repeat investment.  We are very grateful to those who show continued support for Pocket, and we contacted a couple of our ‘double-investors’ to find out what it was that attracted them to the Pocket bond – twice.

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Help for Help to Buy!

Helping to make Help to Buy helpful


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Help!  The government has its heart in the right place, trying to ‘help’ first time buyers with its Help to Buy schemes… and as of today a new one has launched, the Help to Buy ISA. It can all feel very confusing – we’re not promising to ‘deconfuse’ things completely, but here is a brief summary of how Help to Buy works with Pocket, and links to some nice clear explanations.

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Pocket Regen – a new way to regenerate London’s housing estates

 

Pocket Regen, is our submission for the NLA’s recent competition, ‘New Ideas for Housing London’.  Pocket Regen is a new way of managing estate regeneration. By engaging openly with estate communities, and offering real reasons to welcome regeneration, we can provide additional 100% affordable housing for the very people that make this city great.

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JLL Innovators Research : Pocket

 

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Like marriage, the secret to a successful first time home purchase is compromise.

In what has become a supply-starved London housing market effected by rapidly rising prices, Pocket have built their model around the one facet that first time buyers are not willing to compromise on – location.

The London-based developer prioritises location over size allowing it to deliver first-time buyer homes in good commuting locations at a minimum of 20% below the open market rate capped at the current top price of £260,000.

“Pocket brings a rational approach together with the sort of design flair that makes spaces feel generous and desirable. As the current crisis forces new thinking, Pocket’s initiatives provide a positive example to other housing providers when new ideas are thin on the ground.” Peter Murray, New London Architecture

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Looking for idle land… a typical Pocket plot

London’s a big place, and most developers think big when it comes to land.  Big regeneration opportunities with big profits attached.  At Pocket, we take a different approach.  Our mission is to provide as much affordable housing as we can on a site, so we tend to favour ‘infill’ sites; land that either doesn’t have any particular purpose, or is no longer used for the purpose it was previously intended.  Idle land.  This includes old garage sites which have become under-used storage facilities for junk, community centres which are not used by the community any more, or just spaces between buildings.

It makes sense to develop these sites.  They’re already within an existing community, they can tap into the existing infrastructure and services, they allow the densification of London, rather than pushing its urban boundary out into the green belt.  Here are some examples of the ‘before’  and ‘after’ of ongoing projects which are a fairly typical plot size of anything up to 1 acre:

 

Marischal Road SE13, Lewisham.  Disused garages.  0.185 acres.  26 Pocket homes

This site in Marischal Road SE13 is perfect for Pocket.  We’ve designed a scheme that brings 26 Pocket compact apartments to Lewisham, just a stone’s throw from the bustling market, shopping centre and excellent transport links of Lewisham DLR and overland.  We’re starting construction in August 2015, with sales going live in Spring 2016.

Marischal Road site    0804-H4-11640 Mercator Road-Model option1 low (more…)

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How to help London stay successful – a snapshot of Ed Glaeser’s recent visit to our city

By Lucian Smithers, Director of Sales and Marketing, Pocket

At Pocket we have all read ‘The Triumph of the City’ by Ed Glaeser. Glaeser’s views about what makes cities great and how they can remain successful give heavyweight academic substance to Pocket’s belief in delivering starter homes for London’s city makers – you could even say we’re groupies.

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So you can imagine our excitement at the prospect of hearing him talk in the UK last month at Warwick Business school’s outpost in the Shard.  He was also interviewed in the Guardian, and even better, he popped in to visit Pocket and hear more about our philosophy and business model – we think he liked it!

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Glaeser’s work focuses on the power of successful cities. Note the word “successful.” His studies cover huge geographical and historical distances to find the lessons about how great cities have managed to thrive and in some cases come back from the brink.  And his visit to London meant he gave some thought to the similarities, and differences, between the UK and our friends across the Atlantic.  He pulls out the simplest observations from a huge set of data and experiences, and here are some of the nuggets of genius that we took away for London: (more…)

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