Study shows first-time buyers prepared to move 30+ miles for better homes and neighbourhoods

Affordability concerns are prompting first-time buyers to consider moving more than 30 miles from their preferred location to get their foot on the property ladder.
-Credit: (Image: SWNS)

A twice-yearly survey of 1,000 prospective homeowners revealed that 39 per cent are broadening their search to neighbouring areas in hopes of finding a property that ticks all their boxes.

By being flexible on location, those surveyed hope to afford features such as a garden (66 per cent), an extra bedroom (53 per cent), an en-suite bathroom (48 per cent), a driveway (47 per cent) or a garage (44 per cent).

However, it's not just financial considerations driving potential buyers to look further afield. A desire for more tranquil surroundings motivates 38 per cent, while 32 per cent seek safer neighbourhoods with lower crime rates.

Aspiring first-time buyers in Wales are willing to consider properties an average of 38 miles away. Meanwhile, those in London and the South East are prepared to relocate up to 33 and 37 miles respectively.

The study also found that despite affordability challenges, buying a home is more important than ever for 79 per cent, with financial security being the top motivator for 62 per cent of respondents.

Brian Byrnes, head of personal finance at saving and investing app Moneybox, which commissioned the research, commented: "Market volatility over the last few years has really highlighted how compromise is often the key to getting on the property ladder as a first-time buyer."

"It's heartening to see how first-time buyers are adapting and striving to make their dream of owning a home come true. We witness this determination and dedication daily among our customers," the report states.

"However, we also believe that more could be done to help first-time buyers navigate the current market conditions with greater confidence."

"Given the current interest rates and house price growth, affordability is becoming a struggle for more people, making it crucial to save an adequate deposit."

35 per cent of those surveyed feel optimistic about becoming homeowners.
35 per cent of those surveyed feel optimistic about becoming homeowners. -Credit:SWNS

The study also revealed that 35 per cent of those surveyed feel optimistic about becoming homeowners, with 22 per cent even managing to save more than expected towards their deposit in the last six months.

However, the cost of living continues to impact disposable income for 57 per cent, making it harder for 51 per cent to save for a deposit alongside rising house prices.

According to the research conducted by OnePoll, first-time buyers are now saving 18 per cent less towards their first home deposit than a year ago, down from £344 to £286 a month.

But 17 per cent are eagerly awaiting the General Election to see what support may be provided to aspiring first-time buyers by a new Government.

Moneybox's Brian Byrnes added: "As we approach the final weeks before the General Election, it is clear that more needs to be done to address housing supply and sustainably boost homeownership - without further inflating house prices. However, many of the solutions needed are complex and will take some time to bear fruit."

"That is why we've been campaigning to future-proofing the Lifetime ISA, a hidden gem of a savings product that has supported a whole generation of first-time buyers, to buy their first home far sooner than would have otherwise been possible due to its 25 per cent government bonus on deposit savings of up to £4,000 every tax year."

"We believe first-time buyers deserve all the help they can get and so we are calling on the next government to futureproof the Lifetime ISA and help more people save more money towards their first home deposit."