June 17, 2024: Affordability concerns are prompting many first-time buyers to consider moving more than 30 miles on average from their preferred location to get their foot on the property ladder.

A biannual study of 1,000 aspiring homeowners from saving and investing app Moneybox found 39% are actively looking at properties in neighbouring areas beyond where they currently live to improve their chances of securing a property which meets all their needs. 

Those surveyed were most willing to compromise on location in order to afford a garden (66%), a spare bedroom (53%), an ensuite bathroom (48%), a driveway (47%) or a garage (44%). 

The study also revealed financial reasons were not the only things motivating potential homebuyers to look further away, with some looking for more peaceful or serene surroundings (38%), or safer neighbourhoods with lower crime rates (32%).

Aspiring first-time buyers in Wales are looking furthest afield, considering properties an average of 38 miles away. While hopeful buyers in London and the South East are prepared to move up to 33 and 37 miles respectively.

Despite affordability challenges, homeownership remains an important goal for the majority of first-time buyers in the UK (79%), with 62% viewing it as a key to unlocking financial security, up 6% from last year.

Brian Byrnes, Head of Personal Finance at saving and investing app Moneybox comments:  “Market volatility over the last few years has really highlighted how compromise is often the key to getting on the property ladder as a first-time buyer. It’s great to see how first-time buyers have been adapting to make their dream of owning a home a reality and we see this resilience and commitment every day among our customers. 

“However, we also believe that more could be done to help first-time buyers navigate current market conditions with greater confidence. Interest rates and house price growth now mean that more people will struggle with affordability and so it’s never been more important to save a suitable deposit.”

The study also found 35% of those surveyed feel optimistic about becoming homeowners and 22% have even managed to save more than expected towards their deposit in the last six months.

Yet, the cost of living continues to impact disposable income for the majority (57%) making it harder for many to save for a deposit alongside rising house prices (51%).

According to the research, first-time buyers are now saving 18% less towards their first home deposit than a year ago, down from £344 to £286 a month.

17% are also eagerly awaiting the General Election to see what support may be provided to aspiring first-time buyers by a new government.

Moneybox’s Byrnes adds: “As we enter the final weeks before the General Election, it is clear that more needs to be done to address housing supply and sustainably boost homeownership – without further inflating house prices. However, many of the solutions needed are complex and will take some time to bear fruit. 

“That is why we’ve been campaigning to future-proof the Lifetime ISA, a hidden gem of a savings product that has supported a whole generation of first-time buyers, buying their first home far sooner than would have otherwise been possible due to the fantastic 25% government bonus on deposit savings.

“We believe first-time buyers deserve all the help they can get and so we are calling on the next government to futureproof the Lifetime ISA and help more people save more money towards their first home deposit.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Consumer research was conducted by One Poll on behalf of Moneybox from May 31st to June 10th 2024. 1,000 aspiring first-time buyers participated in the survey.

About Moneybox

Moneybox is the award-winning app on a mission to help people build wealth with confidence so they can enjoy life, today and tomorrow. Launched in 2016 by co-founders Ben Stanway and Charlie Mortimer, the company has experienced rapid growth, and today has over £7bn in assets and a community of more than 1.3 million customers. Moneybox provides a range of great value products and services, across saving, investing, home-buying, and retirement as well as helpful tools and educational content, to help people manage and achieve their short, mid, and longer-term financial goals. Moneybox enables customers to set money aside in the way that suits them best using round-ups, regular deposits, or instant payments. In March 2022 Moneybox raised £35m in a Series D funding round, led by Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, existing investors Oxford Capital, CNP, Burda and Breega, plus new investor Polar Capital. This brings total funds raised by the digital wealth manager to £100+ million.