First time buyers moving further afield

A recent report from Experian plc shows that Britain’s “aspiring homemakers” are breaking away from city centres and seeking residence towards the rural scenery.

First time buyers are now said to be more likely to purchase a property in the Western Isles of Scotland rather than in an opulent suburb like Kensington or Chelsea. If first time buyers are looking further afield from cities, will this affect the level of business for urban conveyancers?

The average age of a first-time buyer has slowly increased over the last ten years. Experian states that “aspiring homemakers” – young families between the ages of 26 to 35 years old – are more likely to join the property ladder than their younger counterparts. The most prominent reason for this is that they want their first permanent residence in order to start a family, but is affordability attainable?

There is intriguing data from 2012 that presents the regional breakdown of the average age of first-time buyers in the UK:

From the data table above, the statistics show in recent years, the typical age home seekers are acquiring their first property in London is at 52 years old. This demonstrates home seekers within the region are reaching a more a mature age compared to elsewhere in the UK. This therefore suggests these first time buyers are likely to have needed to wait until they have accomplished their wealth and could now invest in a property of increased cost and worth.

These figures also show the most frequent average age of first time buyers are found within the North West, North East and East Midlands, at 35 years old. Could this mean that you, as a professional, should be targeting certain demographics with an aim to achieving the maximum vocation and profit from these parts of England?

But why do house prices remain so out of reach for these buyers in the London Borough? A 2014 report from The Guardian states that: “On the best measure of affordability, a standard property in London is half as affordable as it was in 1997 and not a lot more affordable than at the worst point in 2007”.

An example of the varied price brackets between London and elsewhere in the UK can be viewed on Rightmove. Here, a two-bedroomed property in Kensington and Chelsea is on the market for £3,100,000 whereas on the Scottish boarder, a three-bedroomed property is on the market for £182,500. Within this particular instance, a first-time buyer could be saving a vast £2,917,500 overall – all whilst gaining an extra bedroom for their growing brood.

“The population in British cities has clearly dramatically altered in recent times. With central areas now dominated by a combination of the very well-off and a new generation of young renters.” says Richard Jenkins, a Senior Consultant at Experian.

When analysed, all these reports and cases show there is continually a dramatic variation in house pricing throughout west London compared to Scottish properties, which could be attributed to the differences of environment. Inexpensive house pricing in Scotland is likely to be due to the more rural surroundings, whereas London is a capital city, it is desirable with an abundance of accessible amenities and therefore property developers know they can make considerable profit.

To resolute this pricing issue for first-time buyers, pricing brackets need to level across all regions of the UK, and ideally reduce to more reasonable figures that are accessible and realistic for ‘aspiring homemakers’, who should be allowed the choice of attaining a life in either a busy city or rural scenery. If this doesn’t happen, we will continue to see rising levels of renters and a possible reduction in property transactions as a result. What measures do you think need to be taken, or is this simply within the hands of the ever fluctuating market?

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