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  Category: Articles » Finance » Article

First-time house buyers still finding it tough to get into the market

By Richard Green

Buying a house in the current housing market is tough. Becoming a first-time house buyer is very tough. Recent research by the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru (CIH) has show just how difficult it has become for people in Wales aged 20-39 to get a foothold on the housing ladder, as the gap between house prices and wages increases.

The study showed that young working households in Wales currently earn on average £27,039, however the cost of a two bedroom house is almost four times that at £107,864. In some rural areas the situation is even worse, with house prices around five times the average household income. The most expensive areas according to the survey were Monmouthshire (£147,084), Cardiff (£142,773) and the Vale of Glamorgan (£138,019).

A representative of the CIH said "Young households are being forced out of the property market across the country … It is particularly bad in areas where wages and salaries are low yet demand for homes is high."

However the news is not all bad for first-time buyers in Wales, as the Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that the Rhondda town of Ferndale has been crowned the most desirable investment spot for new home buyers in the its first-time buyer property index.

A spokesperson from The Royal Bank of Scotland said, "The index reveals that for savvy house hunters, the most crucial aspects determining future return on investment are the low house price to high income ratio and the recent house price growth rate of the area, alongside any regeneration prospects."

Ferndale topped the chart despite earlier this year gaining the dubious distinction of coming bottom in a house price league of 1,414 Welsh and English towns based on prices since 2000.

In the wake of the recent market upturn in the town, it is now boasting a large number of "for sale" and "sold" signs and looking to attract more first-time buyers.

According to The Royal Bank of Scotland, "Buying in an up-and-coming property hotspot can help first-time buyers climb the ladder faster to their ideal property or location in the future".

Housing organization Rightmove believe that with property prices in Wales bucking the current UK decline in house prices and outstripping the rest of Britain by more 7% and correcting a previous 6% price slump, the housing market in Wales is starting to look brighter for sellers.

Rightmove also declared last month that almost 120,000 sellers in England and Wales cut their asking price in the four weeks up to 6th August and stated that this reflected that it is currently a buyers' market as, "There is too much unsold property still available to expect anything other than a continuation of static asking prices this year."

Rightmove said that with house prices doubling over the last five or six years and mortgage rates having also recently risen, the only affordable option for some people is to rent property rather than buying.

Isabelle Kassam writing for Moneynet believes that since, "Interest rates fell recently but mortgage lenders have been slow to pass the reduction on to consumers. Borrowers who are holding out for an even lower fixed rate are playing an anxious waiting game."

The situation does not look good for those who are presently in rented accommodation hoping for the climate in the housing market to get better, as the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has revealed that rents have risen at their fastest rate for four years. This is rubbing salt into the wounds of would-be first-time buyers, as tenant demand is rising on flats as prospective first-time buyers struggle to afford their first property. A vicious circle has been created that is affecting many prospective buyers. While not being able to currently afford to buy, the higher rents are preventing the hopeful first-time buyers from saving enough to get out of the rented accommodation trap.

Mr Shipside of Rightmove indicated that those being hurt most, "really is first-time buyers, and there is a lot of demand for flats. Two thirds of tenants are actually under 35, so they are the people that are being hurt by rising house prices and rising mortgage rates."
About the Author
Richard lives in Edinburgh and works for bigmouthmedia, occasionally writing for the personal finance blog Cashzilla, and frequently wears black clothing.

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