THE first flat-pack residents yesterday invited the cameras into their new Ikea homes in Gateshead.
The BoKlok apartments are aimed at young people or couples earning between £15,000 and £35,000 a year.
Take-up for the new properties has been slow, with only five apartments being bought since they were unveiled six weeks ago.
But yesterday the first of the new homeowners opened the door of his pristine property. Will Mapplebeck is one of those to use the new share ownership schemes. He pays for his £100,000 flat with a £50,000 mortgage and by renting the second half.
Inside his second-floor home is a bathroom with a combined shower and bath, a large bedroom, a kitchen diner and a small storage room, and the 36-year-old said he was pleased with his new purchase.
He said: “They are well built and there’s a lot of space for a one-bedroom flat. The biggest thing for me, though, is that they are affordable.
“I moved here because I wanted some security because of the credit crunch and people can’t get mortgages. I love the flat, though. It’s warm, it’s cosy and I enjoy it. I didn’t buy this for an investment, I bought it for a home.”
The small development of one, two and three-bedroom pre-fabricated flats is situated in a prime property spot across the road from Gateshead International Stadium. There are currently 30 apartments in the BoKlok development complete, but it is hoped a final tally of 49 will soon be completed.
Built by Live Smart@Home and the Scandinavian furniture giant Ikea, the properties are designed to be affordable.
Peter Stott, executive director of Live Smart@Home parent company the Homes Group, said the developments were intended to provide quality homes for first-time buyers and low income workers. pHe said: “I think what attracts people is that it’s a bit different. People who have moved in have said what really impressed them is the quality. They are pretty affordable, and they are a very good size. We are pleased we have sold five.
“People have to see homes as a long term investment, and I think overall we’ve got a shortage of good quality affordable housing.”
All the interior decoration and soft furnishings have been selected from Ikea’s current product range. Ewa Magnusson, the marketing manager of BoKlok, said: “A lot of people said they wanted natural materials, and light airy spaces, and I think we have achieved that.”