Ready to buy your first property, but unsure where to make the all-important first purchase? As a starting point for your first home search, it is important to determine which type of area you want to live in. After all, your home is far more than just the bricks and mortar that it is made from, but is inextricably linked to the type of area you choose to live in.
In this piece, Centrick will be running you through the four most sought-after locations for first time buyers – the suburbs, the city, commuter towns and the countryside – so that you can decide which area suits your needs when you buy your first property.
The suburbs offer superb balance, providing great access to nearby cities whilst not being at the epicentre of the action. Similar to regional commuter towns, which we will discuss in due course, suburban locations sit just outside the perimeter of cities and make up the more residential outskirts of many densely populated regions. The suburbs are a popular choice for many first-time buyers thanks to their close proximity to inner city locations for work and leisure, whilst avoiding the traffic, noise pollution and density of the city.
What’s more, suburbs also offer more space for first time buyers, especially those hoping to live just a stone’s throw from the city – as you get further away from the heart of the city, demand for space becomes less competitive, and properties tend to come with more outdoor space and increased square footage. This explains why city centres are typically constituted of apartments, whereas suburbs have a variety of property formats available. Data found on home.co.uk demonstrates this: the Birmingham city centre B3 postcode saw no detached, semi-detached or terraced properties for sale over the past year, but saw 167 apartment listings. On the other hand, the suburban B30 postcode associated with Bourneville and Stirchley showed a drastically different picture, with 7 detached, 27 semi-detached and 29 terraced properties listed for sale in the past year, as well as 11 flats. As such, if you are looking for a property that deviates from the standard inner-city apartment without straying too far from the range of amenities that the city can afford, the suburbs may be your best bet.
Looking to move into the suburbs? Here are some of Centrick’s recommendations:
With an abundance of commuter routes ranging from buses to trams and trains to planes, the city is always going to be a popular destination for first time buyers. These properties are often popular with single residents or couples who may not necessarily require the space of a house with a garden and multiple bedrooms. Everything you could possibly need is in easy reach for city inhabitants – from the largest shopping centres to niche, independent stores; vets, doctors’ surgeries, and hospitals; bars, restaurants and cafes; and an abundance of educational facilities. You will also be able to save funds on travel costs, especially if your job is already city-based, as well as gaining unrivalled access to the abundance of employment opportunities that come with city living. But with so much opportunity and an abundance of facilities packed into one space, you’ll likely have to set aside a considerable deposit to afford your first home in the city.
Space in UK cities is in great demand – in 2021, 33.6 million Brits lived in the city, which is two million more than a decade ago. As a result, property prices in cities per square meter are far steeper when compared to suburban areas, regional towns and countryside. However, this accelerated price growth makes city-centre property a world-class investment opportunity that will grow in value at a faster pace than properties in alternative locations. If you choose to sell in the future you will more than likely make up for the extra initial cost of purchase, and could end up with a significant amount to put towards your onward purchase.
Regional towns, or commuter towns, are a more cost-effective alternative to living in the suburbs. If your main priority is commutability to key commercial hubs and the inner city, regional towns are a fantastic option that allows you to have the perfect work-life balance. The vivaciousness of the city is only a brief commute away, but you still benefit from the comparatively lower house prices and relative seclusion of living in a town. What’s more, unlike more rural areas, towns usually have better commuter routes, and amenities such as shops, bars, restaurants, doctor’s surgeries and dentists. In short, regional towns can provide first time buyers with the best of both worlds by offering some distance from the hustle and bustle of the city whilst simultaneously offering exceptional schools, amenities and a variety of transport routes.
Commuter towns have experienced a significant boost in popularity over the past few years, meaning that these properties can still be relatively expensive option for first-time buyers. This suggests that purchasing behaviours have changed over the last few years, with many home movers feeling less attached to the concept of inner-city living in an increasingly mobile world where connectivity is greater, and work can be completed from anywhere.
Want to buy your first property in a regional town? Explore Solihull, the gem of the West Midlands and an exceptional option for those commuting to Coventry and Birmingham.
If you do not need to commute to work in the city, or if you work from home, the countryside could be the perfect option for you to buy your first property. Countryside properties tend to offer greater seclusion, more space, and less noise and air pollution without compromising on a community feel. However, living in these areas does have its drawbacks – amenities such as you nearest supermarket, hospital or post office may be a number of miles away, making it vital that you own a car to commute to and from your rural home. There may also be a lack of commuter routes, stable broadband connection, or bars and restaurants nearby.
According to the Nationwide Building Society, rural properties have seen a significant jump in value over the past five years of 29%, with urban homes only seeing a price hike of 18%. This is most likely due to the changing modes of living introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic which saw many homebuyers move away from the cities as their jobs became remote. As a result of these changing behaviours and willingness to move away from inner-city business hubs, the countryside has become an increasingly appealing place to live – and with hybrid working methods here to stay, countryside locations are looking likely to remain popular in the long term, making them a fantastic place to invest for growth over time.
Buying your first home is a significant commitment that takes plenty of time, effort and research to perfect. That’s why we’ve curated our decades of expert knowledge in the At Home With Centrick hub – your one-stop for property advice, area guides and information to make your first property purchase a breeze.
Looking for more tailored advice? Contact our team using the form below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible:
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