One-on-one interview: Lynda Clark, editor of First Time Buyer magazine

Posted 16 February 2015

This we week we talk to Lynda Clark, editor of First Time Buyer magazine, regarding the First Time Buyer Home Show, which takes place at the Business Design Centre in London on Saturday 7th March 2015. 

Please tell us about the first-time buyer show

The First Time Buyer Home Show is a one-stop property shop for aspiring homebuyers in London. The free-to-attend show is a unique opportunity for first-time buyers in the capital to find out everything they need to know about buying their first home. They will be able to receive free financial advice from a range of experts, discuss the wide variety of purchasing options available to them, and discover what properties they can buy within their budget.

The show, which is hosted by television presenter and TV expert Nikki Chapman, is attended by thousands of first-time buyers every year. There, they will be able to discuss their finance options with private developers, housing associations and as mortgage providers and credit checkers. Information about Help to Buy, shared ownership and other helpful schemes will be provided through a series of interesting seminars held during the day.

The First Time Buyer Home Show is to be held at the Business Design Centre in Islington on 7th March from 10am until 5pm. What’s more is that this year, the show is giving away £5,000 to one lucky homebuyer who registers towards the cost of buying their first property.

Why is owning a home considered so important to many aspiring property buyers?

I think most people would like to think that one day they will be able to buy their own home. Owning a property offers people a sense of security and a belief that they are investing in their own future. With private rents increasing as investors continue to snap up buy-to-let property and first-time buyers being forced out of the market, I don’t think this sentiment has ever been so true.

Is now a good time to consider buying a first home?

Now is an excellent time to buy a first home, especially if you are open to considering one of the many purchasing schemes currently available. Despite recent reports of a steadying market, property prices have risen by 15 % in London over the last year and this is making it even tougher for first-time buyers.

Although interest rates are at an all-time low, those with smaller deposits saved are not seeing the benefit.  By using one of the many homebuying schemes to get onto the property ladder now, buyers will be able to purchase their own home for a lower upfront cost and also enjoy the continued uplift in house prices.

What are mortgage lending conditions for first-time buyers like?

Mortgages for first-time buyers seem to be getting more expensive – especially as it looks like banks are starting to further restrict their lending.  It’s not all doom and gloom though. The Help to Buy scheme gives homebuyers access to much more affordable mortgage rates and still only requires a 5% deposit.

What help to buy initiatives are available to first-time buyers?

There are a huge number of schemes available and I’m sure that most are even unaware of their existence. As well as Help to Buy and the newly launched First Steps scheme, there is Rent to Buy and other shared equity schemes. Most of these schemes are available to all first-time buyers, regardless of their job or background. 

It always amazes me when I speak to prospective buyers at our shows that most have no idea that half of the schemes exist or that they even apply to them. It’s very rewarding to watch them understand the ways that they can use one of these schemes to help them buy their first home and get onto the property ladder.

What more can the government do to help first-time buyers gain a first foot on the housing ladder?

First of all we must congratulate the government on the launch of Help to Buy, and also for introducing a fairer approach to the payment of stamp duty. 

There still seems like more could be done to encourage lenders to offer lower interest rates on higher loan to value mortgages. It’s unfair that first-time buyers are faced with the biggest costs when it comes to buying property, and only those with more equity in an existing home can benefit from the lowest interest rates. Also, there is definitely more that could be done to help promote and champion the benefits of some of the different schemes that can help first-time buyers into homeownership.

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