You might be forgiven for not knowing whether or not to feel sympathy for first-time buyers.
We’ve heard a lot in recent years about how difficult it is to get onto the property ladder, but now snippets of news seem to suggest that they’re not doing too badly.
There’s been an upturn in the number of first-timers taking out mortgages, for example, and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme has helped well over 350,000 people take their first steps in the property market.
HMRC recently revealed that 69,000 first-time buyers had benefited from the new stamp duty rules introduced in last year’s Autumn Budget – saving £2,300 on average.
First-time buyers’ stamp duty relief, which was implemented in an attempt to help aspiring homeowners, introduced new thresholds which mean those buying a first home worth £300,000 or less are now exempt from paying stamp duty.
All of which sounds great. Yet the economics of the market still make difficult reading for anyone trying to save for a deposit.
In the 1960s, homebuyers spent just over two years saving a deposit of £595 – with an average household income of £2,854 at the time.
By 2007, things had changed radically, and the first-time buyer deposit averaged £13,000. By 2011, it had doubled to more than £26,000 – which is more or less where it is today (although it has topped £80,000 in London).
Earlier this year, Nationwide Building Society calculated that potential first-time buyers must typically save for eight years to afford a deposit – four times as long as they did 50 years ago.
But of course, it can be done – thousands of buyers purchase their first home every month. So for those who have been saving for eight years – or those who are lucky enough to have received help from the Bank of Mum and Dad – the following three properties are all for sale in our area for just a shade under the new average price for a first home, £211,296.
In the north of Wetherby, 15 Aire Road is a semi-detached family home with three good-sized bedrooms, a bathroom and access to the loft. Downstairs, there is an entrance hall, large lounge-diner and a conservatory. Outside, there’s a detached garage and drive providing off-street parking, plus front and back gardens.
Just a little to the north, Granary Cottage is a cottage built of local magnesian limestone in the heart of Kirk Deighton. It has two sizeable bedrooms, bathroom, partially-boarded loft space, sitting room, and farmhouse-style kitchen. Outside, there is a garden with two outbuildings.
Finally, 7 Wigby Close is a modern terraced property on a quiet cul-de-sac in Burton Leonard – arguably one of the district’s loveliest villages. It has three bedrooms, bathroom, reception hall, kitchen (with space for a breakfast table), and living room which opens to the rear via French doors.
Outside, there is a south-facing garden and potential to extend. Approved plans envisage an entrance porch to the front, an extension to the rear making the living room larger, and an additional reception room filling in the covered parking space to create a family room.