We recently conducted a YouGov survey where we learnt there is a significant hesitancy for young people to take their first steps onto the property ladder. The majority of 18 to 24-year-olds and a third of 25 to 32-year-olds said they were currently renting from a private landlord. In both groups, the majority said they would not consider buying a house for up to five or even ten years. With this in mind, we chatted to 24-year-old project manager, Cara Simm, about her thoughts on moving from a rental apartment and the questions other first-time buyers need answering when it comes to the property market.
Cara currently co-rents a Manchester city centre flat, as do most of her friends. She had been close to purchasing a new build by herself, but the Covid-19 pandemic halted her plans. She has since taken the time to become more educated on the buying process and what she really wants from her first property purchase.
What made you decide to rent and cancel your new build reservation?
I paid the reservation fee on a new build, but the pandemic played a large factor in why I changed my mind. There was a fair amount of uncertainty at the time and I was purchasing on my own, so it felt like too big a commitment. I had been keen to buy, but then I wasn’t sure about the location. I chose to rent in the same area to see if I liked it. I’m glad I did this as I have realised that when I do come to purchase, I want more green space and preferably want to move to a different part of Manchester. It is important to me that there is a sense of community, some shops and cafes and good access to the city.
What were your reasons for buying a new build and how was the experience?
Especially as I was planning – and still am planning – to purchase on my own, I wanted to minimise the need for renovations or repairs. I especially wanted the bathroom and kitchen to be brand new, so I wouldn’t need to splurge more money on replacing them. New builds have great appeal for this reason, particularly with younger buyers who may not want the hassle.
I had been saving from an early age, since my first job. I had no aim at the time, but I really didn’t want to end up wasting too much of my earnings on renting. When I left home, I had intended to buy straight away at the age of 21. I spoke to my parents about it, and I knew it would be a lengthy process, but I would see the development on my way to work and the idea came from there.
What do you love about living in the north west?
There’s a bit of everything in central Manchester – nightlife, shops, a great culture. London almost seems like a step down in comparison! But having rented here for a long time, I now know it’s not somewhere I want to live permanently and I’d like to move out a little way. I’d like to have more access to green space.
There is a great sense of community in many of the areas around Greater Manchester, especially if you like the idea of a local high street and perhaps a regular market. I couldn’t imagine leaving the north of England, so just moving out a bit would be a good option for me.
Would you say first time buyers have a good knowledge of the buying/moving process?
I have a good understanding of the process but noticed when speaking to friends about it, not everyone has the same level of knowledge. I know about affordability and lending, unlike most people my age. I was encouraged to save by my parents and I’m also not a massive spender, which I think has helped me set realistic goals.
I think a lot of young adults understand deposits but don’t know about how much you can lend, or about how mortgages work. People are also generally unaware of timescales with buying and moving, and I feel there needs to be more information about how plans can get pushed back. Circumstances can change, such as in the pandemic, there were more dropouts.
I’m aware of the Help to Buy scheme, but no one I know has used it. I don’t think it would be for me, but I know it would suit other people. Anything that helps first-time buyers is positive. I personally have a Lifetime ISA as there is a bit more flexibility.
Our survey found that most people in your age group wouldn’t consider buying a house this year, but potentially in the next decade – are you surprised at this answer? Why do you think that is?
These figures don’t surprise me because I think many people in my age group have been prioritising their spending on travel and experiences over the past few years. Potentially now that people can work remotely, they want more spacious homes too so they are saving for longer. I have seen a few reports that seem to encourage young adults to stop spending their money if they want to save for a house, but I don’t think that is necessarily right or true. You have got to enjoy your life but just plan and be smart with getting onto the property ladder.
I also think it comes down to how accessible the information on financial help is as I don’t understand a lot of the schemes in place. I’d also like to see more guidance on buying alone, if there are any extra steps that need to be taken into consideration. Most of the guidance seems to be targeted towards people buying together.
If you’re interested in buying in Manchester, we have just launched our newest development The Gateway. A stunning development offering an exceptional choice of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes that bring the best in modern designer living, including a garden and gated parking. To find out more, head to our dedicated website page here.