First-time buyers urged to 'manage expectations'

First-time buyers urged to 'manage expectations'

First-time buyers have been urged to manage their expectations after research from Yorkshire Building Society revealed that four-in-five (79%) believe their first home will meet all of their needs and two-in-five (42%) think their first home will be their last.

The Housing Britain report, which explores the barriers to home ownership at every stage of the property ladder, found that whilst first-time buyers have high expectations for their first home, the reality they face differs as their lives evolve.  

The report found that 62% of second steppers – or those living in their first and looking to buy their next property – said their home meets only some or none at all of their needs, with size named as the main issue (47%), followed by location (29%) and their home not being energy efficient enough (25%).  

Of those who did not expect their next property purchase to be their last, 30% expected to own three homes over the course of their lifetime – while a fifth (19%) said they expected to own four and 17% said they expected to own five or more, further supporting the reality that first-time buyers are unlikely to find their forever home at the first time of asking. 

Jeremy Duncombe, director of mortgages distribution at Yorkshire Building Society, says: 

“Our research tells us that first-time buyers understandably have extremely high expectations of their first home – but pragmatism and compromise are likely to be needed in reality. 

“Those looking to buy a home for the first time who are prepared to compromise, should be able to get on the housing ladder sooner, but should be aware of the sacrifices those compromises will bring.  

“For example, our findings show that more than a quarter of first-time buyers are willing to buy a smaller property than they had hoped for – but once living in that property, we know that not having enough space is their number one frustration. 

“A big part of this may be first time buyers not taking into account how their needs may change as they progress through life, reaching key life milestones such as having children, for example.”  

In a similar vein, when asked at what stage of the housing ladder they expected to feel most settled in their home, 44% of first-time buyers said their first home. Feelings towards their first home however changed considerably by second stepper stage – where just 17% said that they felt most settled in their first property, demonstrating how needs change throughout life, something first-time buyers could well be overlooking.  

Duncombe, continues:

“There is clearly a disparity between how first-time buyers expect to feel in their first home and, according to second steppers, how they in fact end up feeling.  

“It’s really important that first-time buyers sense-check their expectations with expert advisers, as well as speak to trusted family and friends already on the property ladder. With house prices rocketing in recent years the dream home they thought could be forever could, in fact, be a bit further down the line than they originally thought, but that’s ok. Life evolves, and your home needs do the same. 

“Doing as much research as possible and taking a more staggered approach to homeownership could help manage expectations, limit frustrations, and help them find a place to call home sooner.”