Property Blog and News / OnTheMove transcript: Essentials for first time movers

OnTheMove transcript: Essentials for first time movers

15 September 2023


Natasha Afxentiou
Senior PR & Content Executive

Natasha Afxentiou: Hello and welcome to OnTheMove a podcast from OnTheMarket. I’m your host, Natasha Afxentiou and in this series we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about the home moving process from start to finish. We’ll be speaking with our guest experts who will share their tips and tricks to ensure you are equipped to make informed choices, breaking down industry jargon and clearing the path to your dream home. 

Today we’re diving into the detail of what first time movers need to consider, including financial terms and economic factors that can impact your move.

I’m thrilled to have special guests, Alex Isidro, Senior Director, Head of New Homes & Investments from London based estate agency, Foxtons and Kia Commodore, founder of renowned financial literacy platform, Pennies to Pounds. Thank you so much for both being here today. So before we jump into today’s topic, I thought it would be nice to perhaps give our listeners some background on you both. So why don’t we start with you, Alex? 

Alex Isidro: So I am a Senior Director here at Foxtons. I’ve been with Foxtons for coming up to 13 years now. So I’ve done a long stint here and I’ve worked in numerous departments across Foxtons, whether it’s on our sales floor, talking to clients whether they should sell or let their property in whatever market we were operating in at the time. I looked after our legal side, so made sure that we had good working relationships with all of our law firms that we recommend any of our clients across to. I then went on and set up our auctions desk. So two years ago, Foxtons decided that we want to get into auctions, so we set that up and started doing that a couple of years back. And in October last year, I took over our New Homes & Investment side, which look after everything within London, anything to do with the new build or investment, me and my team look after it for any of our clients. 

Kia Commodore: I started my platform Pennies to Pounds almost four years ago now, so that was off the back of having a passion for finances and realising that we don’t get taught it in school. I learned a lot about finances from my parents growing up and I was fortunate enough to have that education from them. But then I realised you go through university and most people, including myself, it’s the first time managing your own finances and you’re not taught it. So I started my platform Pennies to Pounds in 2019 and it was off the back of a viral tweet actually. That’s how it all kind of came about. And then from then I started a podcast. We know what happened in 2020, a lot more financial information was demanded from by the general public. So I’ve been on podcasts, I was a cohost on the BBC podcast to demystify that for people. And yes, since then I’ve worked with some amazing different companies to create and curate content and events for people to better understand their finances.

Natasha Afxentiou: Yeah, that’s awesome. Really important work. So we want to obviously make sure that our listeners feel as comfortable as possible with the moving process that they’re about to embark on, especially if they’re first time movers. But before we dive into the nitty gritty in terms of the details, a lot of that will be financial stuff like you’ve mentioned, I thought it would be a good place to start by asking you guys what you think are the top three most important things that you’d say first time movers, particularly buyers, would need to consider if they’re thinking about getting themselves on the property ladder? 

Alex Isidro: I think there’s a couple of things. Three is probably not enough, but I think first of all is budget yourself. Which I’m sure Kia will go into a bit more, but I think a lot of first time buyers don’t realise how many costs are involved in buying a property, whether it’s legal fees, kitting out your first place with furniture and a bed and a TV, and a sofa. All those bits and pieces really, really add up. So my biggest advice to a first time buyer would look at all those costs and get a nice little spreadsheet on the go. Work out what it will cost you to be able to purchase a property. Consider all things like Stamp Duty and add up what that cost will be so you know that you can happily afford it, and obviously continue a good lifestyle as well at the same time. 

My second point is save up as much as you possibly can on a deposit. At the moment with mortgage rates being where they are, which we’re not used to these sort of mortgage rates for a couple of years, it means that the bigger deposit you have, the better interest rate you’re gonna get. So as much as you can possibly save, you definitely should. Maybe even ask mum and dad for some money to help you with that deposit as well. And then my final one is be prepared. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row in regards to speaking to a mortgage adviser, making sure that you’re fully clued up on what mortgage products out there for you and your specific situation. There’s loads of different details that they take into account and I think if as a first time buyer just head into a High Street bank and say, ‘I’d like to buy a property up to £350,000’, they’ll probably turn around and say ‘yes you can do that’. They’ll look at your salary, and that’s probably it. Whereas if you actually speak to a mortgage expert, they’ll be able to go into a lot more detail with it. We always say the best units will always sell quickly. You want be in the possible position if you find that perfect unit. Those would be my top three, but I think there’s probably loads more that we could go through. 

Kia Commodore: To add on to what Alex said, I’m going to build on your first point. So like I said, in terms of budgeting yourself, that is so important. I speak to a lot of people who said that they’re gonna get their first property and move out and then they just talk about the deposit and they forget there’s so many other fees associated with it. Even, like you said, moving costs. People forget, unless you’ve got friends and family with a massive van, it’s gonna cost you a lot of money to actually move stuff from where you’re living now to your new property. So factor all of that in, save as much money as you can in the first instance. Secondly, I think I’d say consider different locations. I think we are creatures of habit as humans. So if you live in a certain area, if you live in north London, you might be looking in north London. However, depending on your salary and how much you can save, that might be completely out of your budget. So have a look at different areas. And work out commute times. So for example, if you’re going to move out, maybe say, ‘okay the maximum I want to travel is 45 minutes to work, so how far can I go outside? And what do the prices look like for me’? That’s what I’d say. And then lastly, I would probably say put together a realistic timeline. I think sometimes people decide, ‘right, I wanna save up for a house, I’m gonna do it in a year, and that’s what’s gonna happen’. But realistically, what does that look like for you financially? What are you going to have to sacrifice to do that? Can you actually do that? Or is it still realistic for you to push that timeline instead of one year to actually be three years so you can give yourself a bit more time to save up more money? Obviously, unless you’ve got something pressing that requires you to get it quicker, if you do have that luxury of spreading it out, then maybe that might work out better for you in your finances. 

Natasha Afxentiou: Yeah, those are all really good points. Something that I picked up on there is planning, planning, planning is super important because it’s one of those processes where you can’t just decide, ‘oh, I wanna move, I’m ready to buy my first home now’, and then you just go for it. There’s a lot to it. So if you’re getting your ducks in a row, then like you said, Kia, being aware of potential compromise and being open to the options that you have out there will make the process just feel so much better if you sit yourself down and think, okay, this is my timeline, this is what’s achievable, and then go from there.

And I also picked up on the point where we’ve mentioned that if you’ve got yourself a good mortgage advisor, it’s also about thinking about the circle that you’ve got around you. It’s not something that you have to do on your own or that you will do on your own. It takes a team of people. So when you’ve got a good agent, got a good mortgage broker, got a good solicitor, they’ll hold your hand through the process.

Then if you can take care of the things that you are more responsible for, like budgeting, which you’ve mentioned Kia, and the things that you’re willing to compromise on, like location, for example, by taking care of those things and planning as much as you can, whilst being aware that the moving process isn’t an overnight thing, then that planning that you can look after will help you get the process done quicker. 

Another thing I’d personally say, we touched on it where we mentioned obviously having a team of people, but just being aware that it’s not something that you need to do on your own with no help. Alex, I know you mentioned it might be useful to see if friends and family can help with saving a deposit, but of course not everybody will be in a position to have financial help from their friends and family. 

Alex Isidro: And just jumping back to one of Kia’s points about being flexible on location, I think that’s so key in this market at the moment. To give you guys stat, last year 40% of any buyer or renter who registered with Foxtons in a certain area, ended up buying or renting in another area through us, and that’s just being open-minded, making sure that you trust an agent first of all, letting them show you a few things out of that specific comfort zone. As Kia nicely put, many people may think ‘I could only live in this little town’ or wherever it is, but being open to actually getting in a car with an agent, going test out another area, having a look at a few properties, and then on the weekend going back there and spending some time there as well. 

Natasha Afxentiou: That’s an interesting stat actually there Alex and I think, going back to Kia’s point, that is so important because compromise is something that you’ll need to be open to, especially if you want to find something that fits into your budget. We are creatures of habit, so knowing that there is world beyond our comfort zone is really important to help you make that step, because location is something that you can definitely compromise on.

Natasha Afxentiou: Moving on, it’s something that we touched on towards the start of the conversation, but obviously just the financial factors that can have a really big impact on somebody’s ability to move, especially if they’re a first time buyer, it’s really important to be aware of financial factors if you are looking to move and buy your first home. These financial factors can have a real impact and if you are unaware of how they can have an impact, it leaves you on the back foot in terms of knowing what your ability might be to move. So Kia, this might be a question more so for you; there are a few financial terms out there that not everybody necessarily knows the meaning of, or knows how they relate to each other. So I’ve got a few here that I was going to run past you, so if you’d be able to explain how they’re relevant to somebody who’s looking to buy a home? So I’ll run through a couple of terms and then you can obviously add any more that you think would be relevant. 

So things like interest rate, bank rate, base rate, inflation and APR are ones that I see quite a lot of people trying to get their heads around a lot of the time. So those, and then any others that you think are the most relevant? 

Kia Commodore: In terms of interest rate, to put it really simply, if you look at it on a wider scale, so we have interest rates when you have savings accounts, you have interest rates when you take out any line of credit. Interest rate just denotes how much money you’ll either have to pay on top of the money that you’ve borrowed, or if you are saving, it’s the reward that you actually get. So how much the bank or financial institution will pay you for actually saving. So since we’re looking at buying your first home, we’re talking about borrowing credits, we’re talking about a mortgage, so that would be how much the lender will actually charge you on top of whatever you borrowed that you have to repay back when you actually come to pay back that mortgage. That’s probably the simplest way to look at it. Some of these interest rates on these mortgage products are fixed for a period of time. So you might see, for example, five year fixed and it has a certain interest rate, let’s just say 5%, so you know that interest rate is not going to change, that’s gonna be fixed for that period of time. Or it can be variable, but that’s probably the simplest way to put it. 

Alex Isidro: Spot on. I think with the interest rates, we’ve been spoiled for so many years with such low interest rates when it comes to buying a property and having your mortgage on, at some stages just 0.5% going up to 1.5%. If we look back a couple of generations, there was interest rates of between 10 to 15%. So at the moment, yes, it’s high in comparison to what we’ve been experiencing, but at the same time, you know, you can get a mortgage rate now between four to five and half percent. You just, as Kia put really nicely, you’ve just got to factor into your monthly costs and what you can afford up to, rather than potentially even overstretching yourself previously, where we have found a lot of people over the last couple of years have stretched that really large price because interest rates have been so low, but are probably now coming into a market where they think I’ve got to remortgage, which means I’ve got to get a new mortgage on my property, but that interest rate where I got it at 1.5% is now at 4%. So even then we’ll be in hot water, in essence, a little bit, and have to factor interest rates in so it’s a really important point that both first time buyers and just anyone who’s looking to move at the moment factor in interest rates 

Kia Commodore: 100%. You mentioned a few other terms, so another one that people probably see a lot, APR. If you’re looking to get any line of credit you’re probably like ‘what do these three letters mean’? It stands for annual percentage rate and I guess my first introduction to it, I know was when I was looking at my finances when I was getting my first credit card. You know, you see, let’s just say 29.9% APR, that’s how much money is going to be charged on top of the line of credit that you’re taking out and that’s providing that you don’t pay it back. So I’m talking about in terms of credit cards here, but if you didn’t pay it back in full every month, that’s how much you will be charged on an annual percentage over the course of that year. The maths on it is a bit difficult, but that is probably the simplest way for you to work it out. If you sit down and say, ‘I’m gonna look at how much that is every month’, the maths is very complicated. Trust me, I’ve tried to do it, tried to simplify it and explain it to people, but it is very difficult. In layman’s terms, that’s just the annual percentage rate that you’ll be charged on top of whatever line of credit you’ve taken out. 

Natasha Afxentiou: So in terms of inflation, we hear a lot of the time that interest rates rise to help calm down inflation. So for people who may not understand necessarily what that means, what is the most basic way of explaining that, just so people can understand the direction that the market might be going if they are looking at getting themselves their first place?

Kia Commodore: Inflation is a hard one. It’s this word that we hear all the time. You know, everyone should be scared inflation’s going up, but what does that mean? And the Bank of England, why are they putting up interest rates to calm inflation? I guess the simplest way that I can explain it, and you can help me chime in on this Alex, is interest rates have gone up because the inflation rate is essentially the rate at which goods and services in our economy are rising and how quickly they’re rising. So they’re all gonna rise, but the higher inflation rate, the faster that they’re rising. So we wanna bring it down. The Bank of England’s target is they wanna keep inflation around 2%. So the reason why you will see stuff like the interest rates going up is because when you come to borrow, you want to take out credit card, you want to take out a loan or anything like that, interest rates gone up, which means it’s gonna cost you even more to repay. So now buying stuff has become more expensive so you’re gonna say, ‘well, I’m not gonna buy as much. I’m just gonna calm down my spending’. And that will reduce the demand for purchasing stuff in our economy. But then in turn, now the interest rate’s gone up, you can actually get more in your savings. So actually, instead of spending my money, I’m gonna put it away in savings. So because there’s less demand, now you’re not spending as much, now the rate at which prices of items in our economy are rising has slowed down. That’s essentially, most layman way that I can think to put it. Alex May have some extra input, but it is a difficult term to get your head around. 

Alex Isidro: It is, I think you explained it perfectly there. It literally is the cost of goods and services over a certain period of time. So what you would be paying for, I dunno, a carton of milk a couple of years back would be very different to what you’re paying now. So that’s why everyone keeps talking about inflation. So the cost of living essentially has gone up, your food shop or whatever it is. Kia’s, right they’ve increased interest rates to make sure that people aren’t spending as much, just trying to save a little bit more, which then should level that back out a little bit. And I think the Bank of England have said that they want to get it to half of what it is now. So fingers crossed by the end of the year will be closer to 5% and as Kia said, that 2% is the aim. I’d be very surprised if we’re there by the end of the year. But if we are fantastic news. 

Natasha Afxentiou: Just to know how both of those things work in relation to each other is super helpful to be able to understand what’s going on around you and the position that you are potentially in to then see if you’re in the right space to be able to start thinking about buying somewhere for the first time. 

So another thing that I think is really important to touch on and something that some buyers may not necessarily be aware of is their credit score and how important that is. What that actually means for an individual and how you can figure out what your credit score is and the impact that it can have on your ability to buy somewhere.

So Kia, what would you say are the most important things for a first time buyer to know about their credit score and getting a credit check? 

Kia Commodore: Credit scores first and foremost are very important, especially if you are young. You may not have checked your credit score before, or you may not even consider it something important, but it is very important. Essentially, a credit score is a score given to you by a credit reference agency that determines how reliable and how good of a borrower you are. So how likely are you to repay back any lines of credit that you’ve taken out and on time? So you’re not constantly making late payments. You’re not missing payments, you are given a number, and that’s what it means. There’s different reference agencies out there. You may find that your number’s different on one platform to another. A lot of people say, ‘oh my gosh, I’m great here and I’m terrible on that one’, I just tell people, not to worry about it. They all have different criteria to create that number for you, but all you need to know is that it’s always good to try and keep your credit score in a good place. You don’t have to max it out and have whatever maximum number on the platform that you’re looking at is, but the better your credit score is means that you have access to better deals on the market. So if you’re going for a mortgage, you will likely have access to better interest rates and just more deals to actually be able to play with and decide. Whereas people who perhaps their credit score isn’t so good, or they haven’t taken the time to actually build out their credit score, may have limited access and find themselves having to take on higher interest rates for their lines of credit. So it’s something to consider if you are someone who’s young and perhaps you haven’t had any bills in your name yet, so you haven’t had a phone bill in your name or something like that, you may try and check a credit score and A, you don’t have one or it’s very low. Don’t be alarmed, you probably haven’t paid for anything just yet. Your parents were likely paying for most of your bills, but that’s probably the reason why. But once you understand it and you start to take on some of the bills yourself, you can start to plan around it, which is why I think both Alex and I said in the beginning, it’s about putting together a realistic timeline. If you are someone who decided, ‘right, I wanna buy a house’, or ‘my credit score’s not in a good place. How long is it gonna take me to improve it to be in a better place? Maybe it’s gonna take me a year of working on it? Maybe its gonna take me two years of working on it?’ so that will also factor in to your home buying process. But in terms of how that can impact you, I think Alex can take that one a bit more. 

Alex Isidro: Credit rating is vital, and I think as you said Kia, when you’re younger, you don’t think about that. Whether it’s your paying your phone bill on time or you’re renting a property with a bunch of your mates at university and you think, ‘oh, you know what, if I don’t pay my council taxes, it’s not gonna be the biggest of issues’. Where it does come and affect you is when you come to buy, and it’s about having a balance as Kia said you don’t need to be at one end or the other you want be in the middle because if you don’t have any credit rating, if you’ve never taken out a phone contract before, credit card or anything, banks will look at that and think, ‘well, there’s no proof that you can take out a loan and pay it back, so what makes you think that we should give you the biggest loan you’ll probably take out for a few years and know that you’ll pay it back?’. But then you don’t wanna be on the other end of the spectrum where you’re maxing out credit cards and you’re not paying them back, or you’re missing bills. So it’s just making sure you have a balance. And the importance of it is when you go and get finance, get your mortgage, banks will look very much into the detail more now than ever as well. They’ll check your last three years’ bank statements to make sure they see what you’re spending your money on and they will check how much credit you actually have out at the moment. So it’s what we said at the very beginning, planning. So make sure that you know exactly what your credit situation is and don’t stress about it, don’t over check it. It’s one of those things, just make sure your bills are up to date. You have a line of credit that you are being sensible with and you’re paying back monthly, but you’re still using it so you can show that you can manage your money well, and the banks will be absolutely fine with it. It’s important to make sure that people realise that your credit rating matters and I think not enough young individuals know about it. 

If I look back to when I was 17, 18, there was no chance that I was thinking about what my credit rating is. I was out having a good time rather than thinking, ‘oh, you know, maybe I should take a credit card out and show somebody I can manage money’. I mean, that just doesn’t cross the mind, but it is a factor in what we do.

Natasha Afxentiou: Obviously everyone’s timelines are different, but if you are looking to move sooner, would you say there is a minimum time to get your credit score in order and making sure that you’ve got those bills going out? What would you say was the rule of thumb? 

Alex Isidro: Personally, I think it varies really. I mean, a year is absolutely fine and I think you’ve gotta think a bank will still lend on you, but it might just slightly change the interest rate they’re going lend and how much they’ll want back from it. It’s just those factors that you have to play in. But if you’re a young individual who’s trying to get onto the property ladder and you’ve got your deposit ready, you’ve got all your other finances in place, go ahead and do it. I wouldn’t wait a year or two to say, ‘let me get my credit score back into an amazing, excellent scoring’. If you can get a good mortgage at the moment, I would pull the trigger on it sooner rather than later. We operate in a market, which we’re fortunate enough to, that the market is always sort of heading one direction. We might have our peaks and troughs off the back of it, but over every 10 years, we’re seeing the property market go up. So the sooner you act on it, the better, in my personal opinion. 

Natasha Afxentiou: So to round off, based on what we’ve covered, what would you both say would be your top three proactive tips in terms of things that you can really do to put yourself in good stead as a first time buyer, based on what we’ve spoken about so far today? 

Kia Commodore: I would probably add to what I said in the beginning. I would say for you to work out your plan, and I say your plan, because personal finances are personal, so a good thing to do is to sit down and figure out, right, how much of a deposit am I gonna save? Is it 5%, is it 10%? How much can I do? As I mentioned earlier, have a look at different areas. Maybe the area that you live in isn’t attainable financially, so you’re gonna have a look at other areas. But understand the average property price for the property that you’re looking at, then you can work backwards. You can say, ‘right, I’m gonna save about 5% of X property price. How quickly can I do that’? You can do the maths and say, ‘I can do that in two years, three years, four years based on my finances’. And I think that would give you a good plan when it comes to actually saving your money. Number two for me would probably be from as early as possible, just understand that credit is important. Like I mentioned, I had a lot of friends at university who would just not pay their phone bill because they’re thinking they’re sticking it to the man and sticking it to their phone provider, and you know, they’ll get it when they get it, not realising that it actually harms them because it’s actually impacting their credit score. This is the line of credit that you’ve taken out, so just be aware of that as early as possible. And number three, go through your credit history because you’d be surprised how many things are on there that are incorrect. For example, when I was in university I had a credit card out and I didn’t really use it much, but I was using it here and there for small things. Anyway, it turned out after six months someone had been using my details for Uber Eats and I’d been paying it off, not knowing that someone else was using it.

Alex Isidro: Someone was having a great time!

Kia Commodore: Off my dime! But I got my money back in the end, so it was a positive ending. But that was just a lesson and one for everyone listening to make sure that you are on top of your finances. Have a look at your lines of credit. Is what’s on your credit history correct? Did you take out that loan? Did you pay that back on time? Is there anything that’s marked as a missed payment that you didn’t miss? And then that way you can rectify anything because you don’t want to get to the mortgage process and you get declined or stuff happens because you had this mark on you that you’re not aware of. So you wanna deal with that before you even get to that point.

Natasha Afxentiou: 100%. It’s really important to make sure that you sit yourself down and actually do pay attention to it, because it can be easy just to deal with that later because it can be daunting and it can also be quite a laborious task. But if it’s something that you keep on top of it’ll leave you in a better position when you need to proceed.

How about you, Alex? 

Alex Isidro: Let’s break it down into three again. Number one has gotta be finances. Get all your finances in order, work out how much it’s gonna cost you. Work out how much deposit you can gather. Make sure that your credit rating is okay. And then from that stage onwards for number two is be prepared to actually go out there and seek advice. Speak to agents, talk to agents about the local area. Be open to new areas. Speak to a mortgage adviser. Speak to a solicitor so you fully know the process before you even try to transact on a property so that you are clued up. I think a lot of first time buyers will probably feel a bit helpless cause they don’t really know what’s going on, and will put their trust into an estate agent mortgage adviser, whoever else it is,. Just make sure you do your own research behind it all and clue yourself up a little bit so when you do engage with anybody, you know what you’re talking about. And lastly, it’s just be flexible. Be willing to move to an area that you’re probably not used to. Be willing to look at a different type of property. Look at the schemes that are available, that the government are putting together for us, or any developers that are putting together and just keep your ear to the ground with what’s going on in the market at the moment. 

Kia Commodore: I just wanted to tag on to the end of that, in terms of being open to new locations. So just for context, I am born and raised in London, I don’t know anything different than London, and I moved out of London November, 2022. So I now live in Suffolk and that was a massive change just because my family bought a house in Suffolk. So naturally that’s where we’re gonna go. But initially there was some resistance. You’re thinking ‘I dunno what that area’s like’. But being open to it, it’s been a great move. I can’t fault it. Being in this new area has been nice. So I think being open and trying that new area, seeing what that looks like and understanding what’s going on in those areas as well. Having a look at those areas, are they getting investment? Is there going to be new developments? What does that look like? That is a key part. 

Alex Isidro: And that’s a good point. Everyone thinks of London as this massive city. I mean, it’s not, you can get across London within an hour, hour and a half. So it doesn’t matter wherever you are. We always talk about when you’re buying a property, your commute to work is probably the most important thing. So with people traveling to work and most individuals will happily commute between 45 minutes to 60 minutes to get into work, which means that London is a massive area that you can look at. 

Natasha Afxentiou: You are listening to OnTheMove, the home moving podcast by OnTheMarket with me, your host, Natasha Afxentiou and my guests this month, Alex Isidro in Kia Commodore. So far we’ve discussed the key things for first time movers to consider when getting on the property ladder, including how financial factors can impact your ability to move and the schemes available to support first time buyers. Moving on, we’ll be exploring market insights relevant for first time buyers.

Before we go today here at OnTheMarket we have access to insights that can give us a bit of a picture of the market. So I thought to finish off for today’s episode, it might be quite interesting to share some insights that could be relevant for first time buyers to consider. So I’ll run through some of our recent findings and then we can share our thoughts on them. How does that sound? 

Kia Commodore: Sounds good. 

Alex Isidro: Perfect. 

Natasha Afxentiou: To start off with, just to get a bit of a general picture of the market, we had a look at home buyer activity on our site and we found that the top 10 most popular locations where properties to buy are searched for across the UK are; Devon, followed by Cornwall, Kent, Norfolk, Swansea, Somerset, Shropshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, and then Essex. So quite a range there. And then we also looked at the top 10 most popular London boroughs where properties to buy are searched for. So out on top was Bromley, then Croydon, Enfield, Sutton, Richmond upon Thames, Ealing, Hounslow, Harrow, Kingston upon Thames, and then Kensington and Chelsea. So again, quite a range. South London came out on top there. So was any of that surprising to you guys? 

Alex Isidro: No, to be honest with you, I think since the pandemic, lots of people take into account their work life balance and they do want a nice green area to live in. And there’s no surprise Devon and Cornwall are up there. You know, if you ever go down there for a break or holiday, whoever lives down there, it’s absolutely gorgeous. You have a huge amount of space, beautiful areas to go for nice walks, and it’s a lovely part of the country. I’d say the same, you can see that just from those London boroughs, that those top five are quite green spaces across London where you’d look at it and think, yeah, I could absolutely see myself living there. I’d probably go into the office three days a week. The other two, I’m gonna be living around that area, so you want that green space to go out and enjoy yourself as well, rather than being in central London, or a busy borough in London where you think, is this right for me and is this healthy for me? So it doesn’t surprise me at all, actually. Pre-pandemic, I would’ve been very surprised, but I think a lot of people’s opinions on their lifestyle changed. 

Natasha Afxentiou: We also looked at some top areas where you could get the most for your money in terms of the amount of bedrooms that might be suitable for first time buyers who may be looking for properties for less than £500K. So we actually looked at areas that already had a minimum of a hundred properties on the market this year, and we found the top 10 most affordable locations for places with one bedrooms, two bedrooms, and three bedrooms. So when looking at places with one bedroom, we actually found that Sunderland came out as having the most value for money. So the average property price for a one bedroom property there was £69,390. Then when looking at affordable areas where you can get two bedroom properties for less than £500K, Peterlee Lee, which is in County Durham, came up on top with the average property price there being £70,633 for two bedroom property. And then in terms of the most affordable area that had a minimum of three bedroom properties on the market already this year again, was Peterlee, which came up as having an average price of £96,919 for a three bedroom property. So there again, it’s really interesting to see that actually there are places out there that even if you wanted to have, you know, one, two, three bedroom property, you can almost find things for less than a £100k as well if you were willing to make the move to other areas that you might not have considered necessarily before. 

Kia Commodore: I know a lot of people who have gone to uni in various places in the UK and they’ve fallen in love with the area. And then when they come to say, ‘I wonder how much property prices are?’, and find out they’re around similar levels that you’ve mentioned there. They realise they can actually get on a property whilst there. I know someone who managed to get a house while still studying at uni. 

Alex Isidro: Yeah, like everything in the property market, it’s weighed up between supply and demand and the more supply that there is, the better value you’re going to find. And obviously in London we have a problem with supply. So our demand is through the roof for properties, which drives up those prices. So it’s just one of those things that people have to consider about where they can live is gonna work best for them. 

Natasha Afxentiou: So we also did have a look at the top 10 areas in London that would be best value for money for first time buyers, again for properties under £500K, and then we looked at the average number of bedrooms that properties have in these places, as well as the most common property types there as well. We actually found, quite interestingly, that Barking and Dagenham came up as the most affordable location in London for first time buyers with average property prices of £387,598. The average number of bedrooms for properties in that area was three bedrooms, and the most common property types in that area was terraced houses, followed by flats and maisonettes and then semi-detached houses for what’s already been on the market so far this year. So then if we were just to run through the top 10 most affordable London locations, again, based on that criteria, after Barking and Dagenham, it was Newham, followed by Bexley, St Margaret’s, Croydon, Stains, Hillingdon, Havering, Greenwich, and Sutton. And what I thought was quite interesting, and I picked up on just from that list, is that Croydon and Sutton, where they’ve come up here as being quite affordable for first time buyers, they also came up just generally in terms of the top 10 most popular locations in London, that people are looking for homes to buy in. And so that could be a potential correlation. So if we were to look at those in particular, for Croydon, the average property price that we found there was £464,301 and the average number of bedrooms for properties that had been on the market so far in that area was four and the most common property type there was flats and maisonettes then terraced houses. So I thought that was quite interesting to pick up on that actually for a first time buyer, it’s quite doable. But again, if you are perhaps a creature of habit, used to one location in London, broadening your search is really easy to get to different areas of London really, really quickly with the transport links. It’s good to think about those areas where you might be getting more bang for your buck, even though you know you might be in a slightly different area to what you are used to if you’re already somebody who lives in London, but actually it’s something that’s still durable for under £500K if you wanted to stay in that city. 

Alex Isidro: Yeah, I mean in all those areas, I think that the key factor is that transport links are fantastic. I mean, you can get into London very, very quickly from any of those locations, so that is a massive selling point. And I think we have to remember the average age of a first time buyer now is over 30, in London it’s just below 40, I believe. So a lot of these individuals will have families and want more space as well. And if you are a young first time buyer, able to afford up to that level and have a three bed property, amazing. You convince a few friends to come move with you to a new location and maybe charge them a little bit of rent on the side as well. But I think it just shows that you can make it work anywhere across London if you really want to. And the commute factor is really not that limiting anymore. Everybody needs to get used to commuting work, 45 minutes to an hour is the standard. And within all those locations to get into Central London, if that’s where you’re based, you can make that work. 

Natasha Afxentiou: So I think that brings us quite nicely towards the end of the episode. So thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been a really helpful episode for many first time buyers who I’m sure are trying to get themselves familiar with the market and also the financial factors that they need to be aware of and they need to consider if they’re starting to think about getting on the property ladder. So yeah, it’s been great to have you both on today. 

Kia Commodore: Thank you for having us.  

Alex Isidro: Yeah, thank you very much. It’s been good. 

Natasha Afxentiou: All that’s left for me to say to our listeners is thank you so much for joining us for this episode of OnTheMove. You can find all future episodes on all the major podcast platforms, and we’ll be sharing links to episodes as they’re released on our social media channels too.

On the next podcast, we’ll look at everything you need to know about buying a newbuild property and for access to our show notes and any additional information on the topics that we’ve covered today, you can also visit our blog at Thanks so much again for listening, and remember, if you’re looking to get on the move, get OnTheMarket.