Expectations of First-Time Buyers Are Changing
With the ups and downs of the property market over the past few years, those looking to take their first step on the housing ladder have struggled. As the market starts to stabilise, more first-time buyers are emerging. However, their expectations about the type of property they'll be buying have changed in the last year. This reflects the change in the make-up of the average first-time buyer and also paints a picture of the property market overall.
New research released by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks has found that an increasing number of first-time buyers want to own a house instead of the traditional flat. Now 72% are looking at buying a house as their first property, which is a significant rise from the 57% recorded last year. Only 28% of those surveyed were opting for a flat, down from 43% in 2014.
Only buyers in London were favouring apartments, highlighting the higher prices and lack of availability currently affecting buyers in the capital. Yorkshire had the highest number of first-time buyers looking at houses (92%), with 90% of those in the Midlands doing the same.
Flats Less Popular
Traditionally, first-time buyers have tended to choose flats over houses for their initial property. These have generally been cheaper to buy and, therefore, require a smaller mortgage and deposit. They can also be seen as less of a commitment by younger buyers, who might be put off by maintenance issues or large gardens.
There are a number of factors that are bringing about this change. Due to the recent economic difficulties, the average age of first-time buyers has increased, and people are now waiting longer to buy their first home. This also means that the property needs to meet different requirements. For example, they might be buying with a partner or looking for a family home and so require additional space.
As the make-up of the average first-time buyer changes, so do the features that they see as important when purchasing a property. They may be more interested in the outside space that is available, whether this is a large garden or a balcony with glass balcony balustrades, as well as the size of the living space, the number of bedrooms available, the proximity to good schools or the parking facilities.
This change in the property market is likely to be a fairly long-term one. With first-time buyers becoming older, they will undoubtedly be looking more for a family home than a starter property.