Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.” So said Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States of America, who served from 1901 to 1909.
Roosevelt was probably thinking of his rise from sickly child to the most powerful man in the world, but his words could just as easily be applied to first-time buyers in London today.
Make no mistake, times are tough out there for the 77 per cent of 20 to 45 year-olds who would like to own their own homes. The average first-time buyer in the capital pays £350,000 for a starter home and needs to raise an average deposit that’s creeping inexorably towards the £100,000 mark.
Simultaneously, the average cost of renting a home in London stands at £18,120 a year, making it a huge problem to save the deposit for a home of your own.
By 2025 it is forecast that 60 per cent of Londoners will be renting. But while the capital is undeniably in the grip of an affordability crisis, in many ways now is a good time to get a foothold on the property ladder, if you can.
Mortgage rates are low and although Government’s Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme finishes in December, Help to Buy London, which effectively offers a 40 per cent loan to buy a modern home, is still on offer to first time buyers.
Meanwhile, increased stamp duty has driven many buy-to-let investors out of the cheaper end of the market, so competition for these properties isn’t as strong as it was a year ago.
In addition, the post-Brexit market is slow and buyers are finally back in the driving seat, able to bargain hard to secure the keys to their first home.
For those who want to buy their own home, knowledge is power. First timers will need to get to know areas of London they might not previously have ventured into, perhaps compromising on size as well as on location.
They’ll also need to get their heads around how to get the best mortgage deals, and where the best first-time buyer-friendly developments are being built.