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A Case of First Time Buyer Beware?

by Alison Feemantle

An economist from one of the country’s biggest mortgage lenders has spoken this week about the need for first time buyers (FTB’s) to think carefully about the location of their intended purchase. In particular, it has been suggested that those prospective purchasers are being priced out of moves to certain parts of the UK, particularly London.

“The average Londoner trying to save for their first home has to spend around three-quarters of their income on rent, leaving precious little for savings. This compares to around half [of their income] for the rest of the UK,” said Fionnuala Earley of RBS Group.

In addition, it is claimed that while it takes an FTB 37 months to save a 10% deposit in some parts of the country, that period is extended to 51 months for deposits in London.

If you’re concerned about the variations in cost, depending on postcodes, there are many ways in which you can research any area for prices and suitability of property and they aren’t just exclusive to London.

As far as pricing is concerned, we’ve seen comments from some property experts suggesting that there is a huge discrepancy in some cases between property asking prices and the realistic selling price that a vendor can hope to achieve.

There are, fortunately, many websites where you can find out exactly how much homes have sold for in the area. Zoopla.co.uk for example, have prices going back to 1995 and while the earliest of those might not be exactly relevant, more recent examples should give you an accurate picture of sales figures in that postcode.

As far as suitability is concerned, there are many useful tips that have been expounded by property experts for ages but they remain powerful ideas to help you make up your mind.

Firstly, park the car somewhere and take a walk around the area. Look out for noise while you look at present housing and consider its condition, all of which should give you an idea of the neighbourhood. Remember to take this action at all times of the day and night to get a real feel for where you’re thinking of moving to.

If you’re looking for an affluent area with good schools and shops, it is said that there are key names on the high street that only set up in a town when extensive research has told them that the local clientele are financially disposed to their wares. Those names include Waitrose, Starbucks, Pizza Express and others.

The research involved here may not help you reach that 10% deposit any quicker but it could save you money on your property initially before giving you the opportunity to gauge the area and make sure you’ve made the right choice.

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