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Award winner top tips: how to get on the property ladder in 2019

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Post Office Money – winner of the Best Online Mortgage Provider Award 2018 - reveals its five top tips for people looking to buy a property this year.

1. Set a savings goal

Three quarters of first-time buyers (75%) say that saving for a deposit is the biggest hurdle to homeownership, with FTBs spending four years adjusting their lifestyle to save for their starter home. Therefore, setting a savings target early is important to keep you focused and on track. The Post Office Money deposit planner can help you identify how much you need to save.

2. Factor in the additional costs of moving

Aspiring homeowners must not forget the additional costs associated with buying a home, such as estate agent fees and surveyors. While many first-time buyers benefit from savings as they are exempt from stamp duty on properties up to £300k, they will still have to budget for an average cost of £2,438. Consequently, it’s important to consider these costs in advance and save little and often.

3. Research affordability hotspots

Three fifths (57%) of properties sold in the last year were in areas affordable for FTBs – with Blackpool, Lincoln and Hull the UK’s most affordable cities. Widening the net and considering different locations can mean your money goes further.

County City Average house price 1-year
FTB income % of city affordable
Lancashire Blackpool £112,000 +6% £39,611 100%
Lincolnshire Lincoln £143,950 +3% £39,834 100%
East Yorkshire Hull £110,000 +2% £37,840 100%
South Yorkshire Rotherham £133,000 +0% £37,840 97%
West Midlands Sandwell £137,950 +8% £41,024 95%
Staffordshire Stoke-on-Trent £110,000 +5% £41,024 94%
Hampshire Southampton £210,000 +8% £56,429 94%
Greater Manchester Tameside £137,500 +7% £39,611 93%
South Yorkshire Barnsley £124,995 +5% £37,840 93%
Greater Manchester Wigan £130,250 +4% £39,611 93%

4. Know the local Rate of Sale

On average, it takes 102 days for a property to sell in the UK, but it can be as quick as 39 days in Edinburgh. Understanding the rate at which property sells in the area you’re looking to buy in can potentially help you negotiate on price, and even help you plan for additional costs that may occur.

5. Be prepared to compromise

It’s common for FTBs to adjust their location expectations when purchasing their first home (63%), mainly due to affordability. On average, new buyers will end up moving 29 mins or 5.2miles away from where they originally intended. FTBs can consider looking at popular commuter towns to find affordable areas; for example, aspiring London FTBs could consider boroughs such as Barking and Dagenham where property prices are much lower. Always remember, a flexible approach to location can help when taking your first step onto the housing ladder.

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