Study finds moving away from ideal location can make first home more affordable

The key to finding an affordable first home is buying around 30 minutes away from your preferred location, new research suggests.

First time buyers often have to compromise due to high costs and two thirds are willing to consider properties not in their ideal location, according to the study from the Post Office.

It also found that a third are willing to compromise on the quality of their lifestyle when saving for their first home.

Those who compromised on location ended up choosing a home an average of 28 minutes, or 5.5 miles, away from their original preferred location while 13% of recent first time buyers said they ended up an hour or more away from their original location.

Two thirds of first time buyers ended up in a different location to their original choice. Of these some 14% said it was because they had friends or family living there, 14% to be closer to work and for 11% it was because they had lived there in the past.

The research also looked at the most important considerations for first time buyers and found that for 32% the size of the property was the top consideration, 29% said having a garden, 24% being close to work, 21% close to family and friends, 20% parking, 19% being near good schools, 18% transport links, 18% low crime rates and 17% being ready to move right away.

Some 7% made no compromises when purchasing their first home, 14% bought a smaller property than they anticipated, 11% found a property without a suitable garden and 7% even chose a property needing structural work.

In order to save for their first home, some 34% were willing to compromise on the quality of their lifestyle, while a further 23% didn’t mind how long it took them to save. But 12% moved back in with parents to save money.

Post Office Money has identified Blackpool, Southampton, Wigan and Oldham as affordability hotspots for first time buyers, while cities such as Oxford, Cambridge and York are deemed completely unaffordable.

‘It is great to see that first time buyers are still determined to get on the property ladder. Not only are they willing to move further afield to find their dream home, they’re also happy to make compromises to boost their deposit savings including giving up going on holiday, takeaways and lunches out,’ said Ross Hunter of Post Office Money.

‘Buying a property in a highly sought after area could mean buyers are faced with a longer savings period, making the journey seem out of reach. However, there are many ways prospective buyers can make their home ownership dream a reality,’ he pointed out.

‘Considering somewhere away from your preferred location can open you up to more affordable properties. Recent first time buyers who compromised on location were often happy with their chosen area,’ he added.