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Home Buyers Survey 2017: How UK buyers get on the ladder

How are UK homeowners getting on the property ladder and how do they manage once they get there? Our second bi-annual Home Buyers Survey reveals some surprising facts about the market today.

Published

13 Sep 2017

Home Buyers Survey: What we did and why

Have you been looking to buy your first home, only to find yourself hitting some challenges along the way? Or maybe you are looking to climb the ladder but are finding it tricky to take that next step?

We asked recent home buyers the length and breadth of the UK about their hints, tips, greatest challenges, and how they tackled them. Read on to see what they had to say or download the full survey report.

1. Saving regularly and sticking to it is important

It might sound like a no-brainer, but our home buyers told us that regular saving without fail each month was the key to them being able to get on to, and climb the property ladder.

On average, they saved around £500 a month.

1 in 5 told us that it took them 5 years or more to save. It might feel like a long time but perseverance is key, keep putting money away regularly and, over time, you WILL get there.

In Scotland, savers are putting away £469 a month, while in Wales they’re saving around £480, followed by £420 in the Midlands. However, London’s hopeful buyers are the biggest savers, adding an impressive £844 a month.

We know that saving regularly can seem easier in principle than it is in practice, so we’ve put together a guide to saving for your first deposit to help.

2. Beware of hidden costs and unexpected surprises

Buying a home isn’t just a case of putting down a deposit and taking out a mortgage, there are some other important costs to factor in.

One third of the home buyers we surveyed said they were hit by an unwelcome surprise like changing move-in dates and hidden damage to the property.

To help you get to grips with the sort of surprises people experience when buying a home, we’ve put together a guide to 12 common (and hidden) house moving costs. This could help you balance your budget before you get started.

What type of mortgage will you take out? We found that 45% of UK home buyers took out a fixed rate mortgage for 2 years, and 28% took out a 5 year fixed rate mortgage.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts for help

We found that more than half of buyers (56%) felt informed about the home buying process and turned to mortgage brokers, solicitors, family and friends to help guide them through the financial side of buying a house.

Buying and selling a property can be really confusing and it can be hard to know who or where to turn to guide you through the process.

A mortgage broker, estate agent or solicitor can be a fantastic source of information, they do this all the time so will be able to help you understand what to expect and when throughout the process.

If you are at the research phase, and haven’t appointed a broker or solicitor, you might find our home buying guides helpful.

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What motivates you? 72% of UK home buyers told us they bought a property as an ‘investment fund for the future,’ and 56% said they bought a home to provide security for their family.

4. Plan for unexpected interest rate rises

Our survey found that thinking ahead might help home buyers prepare for a rise in mortgage interest rates. One third of recent home buyers told us that if, for example, if their monthly payments went up by just £21 per month, they’d have to cut back their expenses elsewhere to afford them.

It’s worth remembering that if you’re still within a fixed term on your mortgage, interest rate increases won’t impact what you owe each month or the length of your term.

For example, Tesco Bank offers mortgages that have 2, 3 and 5-years at a fixed interest rate, depending on which mortgage you take with us. This fixed term will help you avoid any interest changes in that time.

Are you saving smart? 20% of UK home buyers told us that it took them 5 years or more to save for their deposit, and another 20% told us it took them between 3-4 years. Could a clever budget speed things up?

5. Don’t leave yourself short

Over 6 in 10 of our home buyers surveyed said they had savings left after buying a property, and around half had £10,000 or less left once the purchase was completed.

It shows us that buyers are putting enough away that they don’t completely wipe out their savings after buying a home. This might help cover the unexpected costs of moving home, while you build up your savings fund again.

We’ve put together a helpful checklist of 12 common and hidden costs of moving home to help give you an idea of what to look out for.

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Are you sticking to your home buying budget? 85% of UK home buyers said that they managed to stick to their plan, while those that didn’t went over their budget by an average of £28,000.

6. Short term sacrifices can really boost your home budget

Our home buyers survey has made it clear that when UK buyers feel like they need to go that extra mile, they’re great at cutting down on non-essentials for the time it takes to boost their savings.

We found that more than half (52%) of prospective home buyers plan to trim back social spending on things like nights out while 40% plan to cut back on the number of holidays they take.

Once they moved in, 45% of recent home buyers said they didn’t make any sacrifices to pay back their mortgage but 30% said they did work to keep their social spend low. With a good mortgage rate and a realistic deposit, keeping monthly payments affordable can be much easier – cutting down on the need to make sacrifices.

After hearing from so many homeowners across the UK, it’s clear that being in the know can take some of the stress out of moving and leave buyers feeling confident and in control.

If you’re feeling stuck and your confidence levels need a boost, our series of home buying guides could be a great place to start.

Important Information

The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to the subject matter but does not constitute expert financial advice specific to your own situation. All facts and figures were correct at time of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.