Survey reveals obstacles facing first-time buyers in the East Midlands

With a recent report by the Home Builder’s Federation (HBF) showing that financial worries still dominate the minds of first-time buyers, developers Barratt and David Wilson Homes are reminding house hunters of the help on offer to get them onto the property ladder.

Some 70% of prospective homebuyers in the East Midlands cited saving for a deposit as one of the main obstacles they see blocking first-time buyers from entering the property market, while almost half (47%) believe securing a mortgage is a difficulty for first steppers.

Worryingly, the report showed that almost a third (31%) of potential buyers were not aware of the Help to Buy scheme, which could help them to purchase their new home without a large deposit, as well as 39% unaware of the recently launched Help to Buy ISA.

Mark Cotes, operations director at Barratt Homes North Midlands, said: “For people hoping to take a step onto the housing ladder there are of course financial considerations to take into account.

“However, schemes like Help to Buy and the newly launched ISA make buying a new home an affordable reality for first-time buyers. It is important that people look into all of the options available to them”.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme allows buyers to purchase a new home with just a 5% deposit and a 75% mortgage. The remaining 20% is funded by a government equity loan, interest free for the first five years and repayable on the sale of the house.

The Help to Buy ISA complements the scheme, encouraging buyers to put money away for a deposit by boosting buyers’ savings by 25%.

Cotes added: “We understand that buying a home is often the biggest single investment a person will make in their lifetime and so we’re here every step of the way to offer advice and help to make this a less daunting process”.

The HBF study also showed that financial worries don’t stop at the deposit and mortgage; 61% of those surveyed in the East Midlands are concerned about the running costs of a property and will take this into account when choosing a home.

John Reddington, managing director at David Wilson Homes East Midlands, said: “New build homes are much more energy efficient than older properties thanks to smart techniques such as airtight doors, insulated roofs and the latest double glazing. This means owners spend much less on heating their homes and consequently benefit from lower energy bills”.

Of existing home owners surveyed for the HBF’s report, over half of those surveyed have spent more than £10,000 on home improvements, with 14% spending in excess of £40,000. More than half incurred expenditure renovating their kitchen or bathroom, whilst 44% upgraded the heating or plumbing or installed double glazing and two-thirds spent money redecorating.