An equal partnership between Cambridge City Council and The Hill Group

Published: 22 August 2023

Cambridge Grads trade long-term renting for homeownership at Timber Works

Due to the exponential rise of rental prices across the UK, the average asking rents are now four per cent higher compared to last year. Additionally, rents in the city of Cambridge have risen three times as much as in any other UK region in the last 12 months.[1]  For those seeking to make this desirable location their home, the latest rental stats make it apparent that purchasing a property in Cambridge’s sought-after city is a more cost-effective option. Alumni of the University of Cambridge, Computational Biologists Ellie Dunstone, and Ben Butt, both aged 26, left the spiralling costs of renting behind and stepped onto the property ladder together. Having rented in Cambridge throughout their time as graduate students, they wanted to stay close to the city centre, and now own a brand new two-bedroom apartment at Timber Works in Cambridge by 5* housebuilder The Hill Group.

With its academic prestige, career opportunities, cultural vibrancy, and buzzing lifestyle, it is unsurprising that Cambridge is an extremely popular place to live for the under 30s. Meeting their work-from-home needs, as well as being only a 20-minute walk away from an exciting choice of amenities, their impressive new home at Timber Works ticks all the boxes and more. Having previously rented a two-bedroom apartment in nearby Trumpington, Ellie and Ben sought a home that would perfectly balance work and leisure, and provide great home-office space, whilst being closer to the vibrant centre of Cambridge.


Ellie explains, “We were saving for a deposit throughout our whole time as students and began seriously looking to buy a home at the end of last year. We love Cambridge but it is expensive to rent here; we wanted to start investing our money into our own property as opposed to rent. When I received a Cambridge-based job offer whilst completing my studies, this really kickstarted our search. We knew we wanted to move to somewhere with more going on, with a younger crowd and easier access to the city centre. The Mill Road area is one of our favourite parts of the city, with its independent shops, cafes, and restaurants, so to have this on our doorstep now is a massive plus! We often meet up with friends for a coffee or some lunch there – it’s got a really social feel to it.”
Discussing their move, Ben adds, “After browsing online we discovered The Hill Group, and viewed Ironworks in November of last year. We were instantly really impressed with Hill’s build quality and could see the huge benefits that come with buying a new build home, from energy efficiency savings to warranty, and having a blank canvas to put our own stamp on. Only a short distance away from Ironworks, we both fell in love with the apartments at Timber Works due to the same impressive quality and finish, spacious layouts, and a really great location. Purchasing at Timber Works was truly a no-brainer; we only moved in a few weeks ago but already feel like we are part of a really friendly community and love the extensive green space the development provides.”

Aside from the connected lifestyle that Timber Works’ location offers, Ellie and Ben’s new apartment provides them with essential working-from-home space. Ellie comments, “As I am still finishing my PhD thesis, and Ben’s job requires him to work from home nearly every day, good office space was at the top of our priority list when searching for our new home. We are in the process of transforming our spacious second bedroom into a designated office, which will be perfect.

We have also been working from our Winter Garden space, a quiet covered balcony area which has amazing views over the city. This is a unique addition to our home which we find far more useful than a standard balcony! Should we need to commute, it is quick and easy, being so close to the heart of the city, we have easy access to Cambridge’s transport connections”

Describing the interior feel of their new apartment, Ellie adds, “We love the big windows to our apartment which really work to emphasise the light and airy layout. Having rented properties for so long, we have not had the freedom to make changes to our living space in terms of interior design, but this is something we are so excited to get stuck into! We have even created a vision board on Pinterest of our ideas – the chosen colour scheme is still a hot topic of discussion between us!”

Ideally placed for weekend exploration in the city, residents at Timber Works have unrivalled access to all the leisure activities Cambridge has to offer. Ellie continues, “In our new home, it is easier than ever to discover more of the city; although we have been living in Cambridge for a while, the move has given the city a new lease of life for us. After my thesis is finished, I am looking forward to trying some yoga classes and community volunteering opportunities dotted along nearby Mill Road. Ben now has an even shorter commute to his choir practice at the University, as it takes just ten minutes by bike which is so convenient.”

Talking about the buying process, Ben concludes, “Hill’s Sales Team was wonderful throughout the buying process. We were in regular contact with Antonia and Chloe who were genuinely invested in ensuring our move was as seamless as possible and were really flexible with timings for our pre-move-in visits. In terms of finances, we are delighted to be paying off our mortgage each month instead of rental costs and feel content knowing that our apartment is so energy efficient. The landlord at our previous apartment has since increased the rental costs there, which just further reinforces how relieved we are to have made our move onto the property ladder. We would not hesitate to recommend The Hill Group to our friends and family.”