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Homebuying Show for First-Timers Comes to Manchester

Posted 12 September 2018 by Keith Osborne

We speak to editor and organiser Lynda Clark about next weekend's First Time Buyer Home Show taking place in Manchester...

Property prices, increasing interest rates and tight mortgage lending rules may look to be working against first-time buyers - but as Lynda Clark, property editor and organiser of the First Time Buyer Home Show taking place in Manchester on Saturday 15 September knows, there are actually plenty of options to make taking a first step on the property ladder affordable and achievable. 

First Time Buyer is now an established name in Manchester – what's your view of the current property market here for those purchasing their first home?

We first came to Manchester three years ago with our Home Show, and each year the prospects for first-time buyers in this city increase. Housebuilders are taking note of Manchester’s prosperity and are building homes suited to first-time buyers looking to buy a real home in a thriving city - not just somewhere to live. It is very apparent that there is a real effort being made to produce affordable and desirable housing in the area. Manchester’s property prices are continuing to grow well above the national average, demonstrating the demand for housing in the city as well as a vibrant property market.

What can visitors expect to find at the show?

The First Time Buyer Home Show at Lancashire County Cricket Club is a one-stop-shop for all homebuying needs. We have a variety of exhibitors who will be able to offer advice on homebuying schemes, such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership, as well as mortgage and legal representatives. Exhibitors will also be showcasing their latest properties and helpful schemes to provide a boost onto the ladder. In addition to this, there will also be a series of insightful seminars taking place throughout the day that will offer information on a range of subjects. Buyers can ask any questions they like at these seminars; from the recent rise in interest rates to the legal details of homebuying. Throughout the day, we pretty much have it all covered, so it’s well worth a visit.

Is buying a first home predominantly aimed at young people, or is the age group much wider?

The age range of first-time buyers is certainly much wider now, with the average age of a first-time buyer being well in their 30s. As the cohort is quite broad, the type of home required varies. Young buyers may be seeking an apartment to get onto the property ladder, whereas first-time buyers in their 30s may look for a family-sized home – so the show reflects the changing demands of homebuyers and offers an accordingly wide range of properties.

Are schemes such as Help to Buy and Shared Ownership still popular?

Absolutely – in fact they have never been so in demand. First-time buyers in particular are taking advantage of Help to Buy and Shared Ownership as they provide more affordable routes to homeownership. With lower deposits required, there are less upfront costs required and the sums involved are not as challenging as going it alone.

The Private Rented Sector seems to be growing - are there still advantages to owning a new home over renting one?

While there may be an increase in those choosing to rent, there are many advantages to owning. Ultimately, homeownership offers people lifetime security and can allow buyers to feel settled in their home. It also means that they will have something to show for it after years of paying out monthly – rather than lining the pocket of a landlord. Obviously owning doesn’t always suit everyone but the general feeling is that property is still one of the best longer-term investments, so most would prefer to own if they can. It is our aim at the First Time Buyer Home Show to help give first-time buyers all the right information so that they can make up their own mind, depending on their own personal circumstances.

There are many positives about buying brand new, but is there one that overrides all the others?

New build homes offer greater monetary savings than older properties. All new homes are built for modern living, incorporating contemporary designs and technologies. To upgrade existing properties to these same standards could cost tens of thousands of pounds, a fee that is not realistic to spend for first-time buyers. In addition to this, new build homes are roughly 50% cheaper to run per year than the equivalent Victorian house, therefore putting more money back into the pockets of homeowners. There are also helpful buying schemes involved with buying new so often this is a great route into homeownership. Many find that once they buy new, it’s hard to go back.

Saving for a deposit is a big challenge for many who are without the 'Bank of Mum and Dad' – is it just a matter of sacrifice and determination to get that money together?

Saving for a deposit can be daunting, as it is a large sum of money. However, it is possible to save with a little sacrifice. My advice to first-time buyers would be to think about their lifestyle, and whether there are any changes that can be made. Even small lifestyle sacrifices can make a difference and it’s amazing how much savings can be made with a bit of grit and determination. You have to really want it.

There is help too. There is also a great savings scheme, the Help to Buy ISA, where the government adds a 25% tax-free bonus on the closing balance of the account. In your first month, you can deposit £1,200 into the account and every month thereafter you can add a maximum of £200 per month. Some banks offer good interest rates on these accounts, so it is definitely worth looking into if you are struggling to save.

Is the outlook for the national new homes market good for first-timers?

The property market is always changing – it has done for centuries and will continue to do so. First-time buyers have every reason to be positive about the new homes market, as housebuilders are stepping up to produce quality housing for this particular demographic. This means there is a lot of help out there for first-time buyers looking to buy their first home. Ultimately buyers should think about their own personal situation and decide whether buying makes sense for them. Do they still want to be renting or living at home with their parents in ten years time? If the answer is no, then I would suggest it’s time to find out more.

The Manchester Home Show is taking place on Saturday 15 September 2018 from 10.00am to 4.00pm at the Lancashire County Cricket Club, Old Trafford, M16 0PX. To register for free visit www.ftbhomeshow.com

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