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‘Hidden’ costs mean first-time buyers live in empty homes for months

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The first year of homeownership is so costly it often leaves new buyers struggling to make end meet, new research reveals.

One in four first-time buyers said initial costs of decorating and repairs were so high that they couldn’t afford any furniture for months, while one in 10 said it took years to afford to furnish and decorate.

According to the findings, first-time buyers shell out £563 a year, on average, on work needing to be done to their house and £289 a year on unexpected repairs, like boiler repairs and plumbing.

Challenger bank Aldermore, which conducted the survey, said many first-time buyers who previously lived with parents or were in accommodation where bills were included in the rent may find the costs of regular household bills a surprise.

The bank said the average cost of council tax, ground rent, home insurance and monthly utility bills (gas, electricity, internet etc.) can total over £6,200 annually.

Despite this, home ownership remains a positive experience with 76 per cent of first-time buyers happy to no longer be wasting money on rent and two fifths saying they felt a sense of pride and they have made a step forward in life. Only 4 per cent of first-time buyers said they were unhappy with their mortgage.

Damian Thompson, director of mortgages at Aldermore, said: “Becoming a home owner is a wonderful step forward in a person’s life, but it is clear the first year of home ownership can bring with it some financial challenges and responsibilities some may not have fully anticipated.

“New home owners should try to continue a regular savings routine, seek advice, and ensure they look to have some money put aside for those unexpected repairs and life events that happen from time to time.”

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