Property expert, Henry Pryor, has kindly answered some of our questions about the current market for first-time buyers. With many years in the property industry under his belt, Henry has given us a brief overiew of the challenges facing first-time buyers at present, his predictions for the coming months and some top tips for would-be buyers. You can also read more from ‘the BBC’s favourite property expert’ by clicking here.
Here’s the interview:
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background in property.
After I left school, I went to work for Savills for 10 years. I ran Strutt & Parkers Country House department in London and set up and ran my own agency business in London for 12 years. For 6 years I have been a buying agent, advising clients looking to purchase a home in England and Wales.
2. What is your view on the current market for first-time buyers in the UK in general?
The market for first-time buyers is very tough at present. Affordability is the biggest issue they face with higher deposits (typically 25% ) needed alongside higher arrangement fees. First-time buyers now have to save more than a year’s gross salary to put down as a deposit, something that explains the average age of first-time buyers now being 36 or indeed 42 in London.
3. What are your thoughts on the market in your specific region?
My work ranges across the whole of England & Wales. I am concerned by inititives that some first-time buyers are being exposed to which ‘encourage’ them to buy a property – such as stamp duty holidays, First Buy, New Buy etc… These may provide short-term advantages and indeed some savings, but with prices falling in most of the UK, these savings are swiftly wiped out.
4. Are there any particular areas where it is savvy to buy at the moment?
Yes, changes to planning law, with the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework, should expose more oportunities for first-time buyers – but most should appreicate that buying as values fall is never a great idea. It’s wise to buy where values have already fallen and where there is perhaps some prospect of capital growth.
5. What are your predictions for the property market in the next 6 months?
For volumes to continue to bump along the bottom, for prices to fall by as much as 5% and, unfortunateluy, for it to become more difficult for first-time buyers to get the kind of finance they need to participate in the market.
6. Top 3 tips for first-time buyers
- Gimmicks like ‘pay your stamp duty’ or ‘moving in costs’ are things you pay for over the term of your mortgage. They are not free!
- An asking price is not a guide to value, it’s often an illustration of the seller’s greed.
- Remember that estate agents and developers are NOT your friends. They are there to make the most out of you that they can. They are not brokers.