What really matters to first time buyers

Upon Googling ‘up and coming areas’, the first page of search results was overwhelmingly London-focused; the top places to invest in the capital, 2017 property hotspots, and where to look beyond this year. It’s not surprising; after all, for years London was the go-to place for young professionals.

I can’t help but think that London has lost its lustre for young professionals looking to put down roots. Although the twenties age bracket is the only age group where net migration outstrips those leaving the capital, these young professionals are not choosing to stay in London for the longer term as their careers develop and they approach their thirties. A recent Generation Rent study shows that people in their thirties are abandoning London-living in favour of better value homes in the commuter belt or further afield. Cities such as Manchester, where 84% of property sales are affordable for the average first-time buyer have seen a huge influx in recent years credited to cheaper housing and a vibrant culture.  

Of course London will always be a UK hub, as people in their twenties still flock to the capital. Yet, with the rise of remote working and investment in transport, those looking to purchase their own home are looking further afield as the UK property market is wide open for first-time buyers.

Recently, Post Office Money launched the ‘Home of your Own’ campaign, where we explored what really matters to first-time buyers across the UK – their motivations to get on the property ladder, their property expectations versus the reality,  and critically where they could most afford to buy. 

Having parking, a nice garden and ultimately something bigger than a shoebox to call their own was the dream for most, but anyone who’s been house hunting knows that the dream is not always possible on a first-time buyer budget. As exciting as it is to get that first foot on the ladder, we heard loud and clear that the experience can also be very overwhelming and daunting.

While house prices remain high, particularly in big cities, there is hope for the UK’s prospective first-time buyers. Our study shows that 83% of recent first-time buyers reported that they were approved for their mortgage first-time around and almost two-thirds (62%) of home sales are still in areas across the country that remain affordable for first-time buyers.

That means that  for many, the opportunity to make their dream home a reality, as quickly as possible, could lie in finding those hidden gems in ‘up and coming’ areas before the area has the extortionate price tag to match. 

And this is how we came to work with Proportunity, an innovative technology start-up business that builds real estate forecasts through the use of artificial intelligence, to help us create a simple step by step guide to help first-time buyers spot the potential property hotspots of tomorrow – in London and beyond.

The guide can be viewed here along with a City Affordability Search tool which we hope will help aspiring first-time buyers across the country discover how they can find affordable hot spots in their desired area and make their dream of owning a home, a reality.  

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