By John Grainger, Property editor
Who’d be a first-time buyer these days?
The answer, of course, is “not as many people as would like to be”. Mortgages are harder to secure, and the amount demanded as a deposit has soared.
According to findings published by Barclays on Monday, the average deposit for a first-time buyer in our region is now £16,812.
Which means it is now six times harder for buyers in Yorkshire and the Humber to save for their first home than it was in the mid-90s.
In 1995, the average time taken to save a first deposit was just one year and three months; today, it’s six years and one month.
The fact that it’s down from a whopping eight years and six months in 2009 will be cold comfort to those thousands of ever-less-young would-be buyers trying to gain a foothold on the bottom rung of the property ladder.
They will have to content themselves with the knowledge that house prices have levelled off. According to the Halifax, house prices rose by an average 1.3 per cent in December, whereas the Nationwide says they fell by 0.1 per cent. In other words, they appear to be fairly static.
Which means that the average property price paid by first-time buyers – now £173,000, according to the Office for National Statistics – should remain stable, at least for the foreseeable future.
So, assuming a would-be home-owner has accumulated the required deposit, what kind of house can they expect to buy?
The following four properties are all in our district and are all for sale for around the national first-time buyer average of £173,000.
Number 5 Roker Road is a terraced house with well-presented accommodation over three floors, including three bedrooms.
One of its best assets, though, is its location. Situated just off Kings Road, it’s close to a number of excellent food shops, as well as being within easy walking distance of Harrogate town centre.
In Wetherby, 3 Syke Road needs a little care and attention, but there’s a lot of potential; the semi-detached house has four good-sized bedrooms, lawned gardens on three sides and ample shared off-street parking.
Like the Harrogate property, its location has its advantages, as it’s situated between Wetherby High School and the A1(M).
In Pateley Bridge, 4 Millfield Street is an updated terraced house whose four floors include a utility room and store on the lower ground floor.
It has two bedrooms, but used to have three, so could presumably be converted back if needed.
Finally, 26 Ash Grove is a well-maintained, semi-detached house in a quiet cul-de-sac in north-west Ripon.
It has three bedrooms, one of them on the ground floor, a driveway, lawned garden to the front and a low-maintenance paved garden to the rear.
Again, its location is an asset. Located a just off Clotherholme Road, it’s very handy for both Ripon Grammar School and Outwood Academy Ripon (formerly Ripon College).