St Neots couple on property ladder ... setting up home in a garage

A ST NEOTS couple have come up with a recession-busting way to get a foot on the property ladder … by setting-up home in a garage.

And while most people tentatively start out with a small flat, or at most a modest house, Lindy and Martin Bornman have taken ‘small’ to the extreme.

The pair, originally from South Africa, have bought a 10ft x 30ft garage near their rented house in Rye Close, Eynesbury, for �6,500. They now plan to use it in addition to the two-bedroom end of terrace home they have shared since 2004.

Mrs Bornman, 36, a mother of one, told The Hunts Post: “We’ve lived in our rented house since 2004 and been very happy here. But since property prices have continued to rise we haven’t wanted to buy a house – especially as the market’s so volatile.

“I keep telling my friends not to buy at the moment because the time’s not right – it’s too expensive. But I wanted a way to invest my money and my father noticed this garage for sale on Rye Close near where we live.”

Mrs Bornman, who works for Access Prepaid in Peterborough, said buying the garage was a win-win situation.

“If I decided to rent it out I would get at least a 10 per cent return on my money which is more than I’d get if the money was in the bank. But this way I get to increase the size of my house and gain an extra room.”

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According to Mrs Bornman, spending �6,500 buying the garage was smarter than using the cash to put towards a deposit on a house.

“I wouldn’t use that kind of money for a deposit – definitely not until property prices come down some more – you don’t buy an asset at its most expensive,” she said. “And then you get problems with boilers, things need repairing, you have to take out life insurance.”

The commercial analyst, who moved to the UK in 2001, said she planned to make the garage homely by putting up pictures and book cases. She said she also intends to install a filing cabinet, an electric generator and some exercise equipment.

“My daughter also wants to use it as a play room,” she added.

The Bornmans and daughter Amber, five, were joined by 19 friends and family on Sunday (April 15) for a garage-warming party complete with barbecue and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Mrs Bornman’s father, Lesley Blignaut, 65, said: “There was a fantastic atmosphere on Sunday. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was so exciting … Lindy kept on shouting ‘We’re on the property ladder, we’re on the property ladder.’ We’re very proud of her!”