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1 Apr

First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer - March 2015

Posted 1/04/2015 by: Reeds Rains

First-time buyers demand housing action as half are forced to consider homes with no natural light

  • First-timers increasingly willing to compromise living space to get on the ladder: 51% say natural light isn’t vital in a first home, 63% would go without a bath, 93% happy without an ensuite bathroom
  • First-time buyers want to clamp down on land banking and make it easier to convert buildings to residential use, while one in ten want to build over high streets and golf courses
  • However, February sees 21,000 first-time buyer completions, up 11% from 19,000 in January

The housing crisis is creating growing anger and desperation among would-be first-time buyers, with over half now willing to forgo natural light in their search for an affordable first property, according to the latest First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer from Reeds Rains.

When asked about the requirements that they consider to be ‘vital’ in a first home, only 49% of first-timers cited natural light as essential. Just 54% said a garden as mandatory, and 55% a car parking space.

With the average price of a first-time buyer home now £143,767 as of February, first-timers are more willing to sacrifice spaces including garages, dining rooms and utility rooms in order to save on costs. 

Just 7% of first-time buyers said an ensuite bathroom was an essential requirement to a first-home; while 14% said a garage was mandatory, and just a third (30%) viewed having a dining room as vital. Staggeringly, 11% of first-time buyers said a kitchen wasn’t vital in a new home.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agent Reeds Rains, comments: “First-time buyers are willing to sacrifice space and comfort in their quest to buy a first home. But this shouldn’t be such an arduous task – these findings should send a warning flare out to our politicians that many first-timers are tripping up along the path to homeownership, despite much improved access to finance. 

“There is only a finite stock of housing on the market, and unfortunately, first-time buyers are the least prepared in the current scramble for property. The lion’s share of new housing policy has been stoking demand, rather than supplementing supply, with the Help to Buy ISA the latest in a host of flagship first-timer policies. But building initiatives remain largely untouched, leaving enormous potential to revise and improve housing policy.

“Of course, there is a flipside. Such strong buyer demand means now is a fantastic time for sellers to put property on the market, with affordable properties likely to be snapped up quickly.”

In their bi-monthly survey, Reeds Rains asked first-time buyers what policies they would accept to encourage more housebuilding. Four in ten first-timers (41%) would accept legislation to prevent land banking – when developers buy a plot of land for development but don’t build on it straight away. And over a third (37%) think it should be easier to convert existing buildings to residential use.

Full details about the First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer March 2015 can be found here