A first-time buyer’s guide to getting on the Leeds property ladder

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City centre

“With such activity in Leeds city centre and the recent opening of two award-winning shopping centres, new hotels and top end restaurants, Leeds has become even more attractive both to people relocating for work and for students looking for more of a ‘buzz’ than outside of the city. Investors are taking advantage of the huge demand from tenants in the city centre with rental prices at the highest they have ever been.”

Chapel Allerton

Chapel Allerton has often been referred to as the ‘Hampstead of the north’ and this is true more so now than ever. The centre is bustling with commercial properties which rarely come up for let, making Chapel Allerton home to independent shops and eateries which many travel across town to visit. Prices have continued to climb for both rentals and sales in the area and investors from out of town have seen the opportunity for investment with the growth this area has shown over the years, often resulting in bidding wars against owner occupiers looking to secure the purchase of a local property.

Meanwood

Meanwood – between Headingley and Chapel Allerton – has always been a ‘dark horse’ with many predicting years ago that prices would increase dramatically in the area. They guessed right! With the opening of trendy bars and restaurants and the Waitrose supermarket, prices for both sales and rental have soared and demand for properties in the area is fierce now.

East Leeds – Crossgates, Colton and Whitkirk

East Leeds prices are often considered to be that bit lower than north Leeds which creates a buoyant market for those looking to buy as owner occupiers. With Crossgates shopping centre and the exciting new £400m scheme at Thorpe Park, including a 12-screen cinema, sales in Colton, Crossgates and Whitkirk are booming, as are the number of new housing developments. The proximity to motorway links makes this location ideal for commuters.
 “Unless you’re a first-time buyer who has just won the lottery and plan on buying a mansion, a one or two-bedroom apartment or house is going to be the best bet,” advises Kristian Wass, director of Leeds estate and letting agents Hudson Moody Wass.
“Depending on where in Leeds you want to live, then you could be looking to spend as little as £60,000 for a back-to-back terrace in south Leeds, £120,000 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre, or £150,000 plus for a two-bedroom flat in north Leeds.”
As with every city, some areas of Leeds will offer you more for your money.
“Buyers who require space should look in an area like Harehills, where they could get a three to four-bed starting from £80,000,” says Andrew Hare, area manager at William H Brown.
“City centre environs are good for first-time buyers, but if they want something central then an apartment would be ideal, although it would be smaller.
“Naturally there are more and less affluent areas across the city. For instance, Roundhay Park is a very sought after area, whereas Harehills may have lower priced stock but generates higher rental yields.”
Location may be the top priority for most when house hunting, but knowing what type of property you want will help to narrow down your search.
Back-to-back terraced housing in Harehills
 “There are advantages and disadvantages to buying a new build or an old home,” says Wass.
“If you buy a property that needs a little updating and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you could increase its value to build up equity. With new build, it’s not just the property but the kitchen, bathroom and most likely the appliances and carpets that are new, so the initial maintenance will be low, or even non-existent for a time, which could be important if you’re budgeting.
“The downside here, though, is time and hidden problems you didn’t spot before buying and didn’t budget for.”
Saving for a deposit
There are many costs to consider when buying your first home, so being able to budget accordingly is essential. For most house hunters, the biggest challenge of getting on the property ladder is successfully saving for a deposit. This amount will be dependent on the property and the mortgage lender, but it is expected that buyers put down at least five per cent of the total cost. While this is a sizeable amount of money to save, those who are able to provide a larger deposit of up to 10, 20 or even 30 per cent will benefit from having a smaller mortgage and lower interest rates.
“Once upon a time, five per cent deposits were typical for first-time buyers, but these mortgages are hard to come by,” explains Wass. “Fifteen to 20 per cent is now much more typical – and is usually met with the help of parents.
“So if you’re looking to spend £125,000, then a 20 per cent deposit will put you back £25,000, but you’ll also need to budget for solicitor’s fees and disbursements, like land registry fees. All in all, I’d allow no less than £1,500 for these.
“And after all that, you’ll need to think about furniture and basics, like pots and pans.”
Choosing the right mortgage
When it comes to mortgages, there are a number of options available to cater for varying circumstances.
“The majority of UK borrowers choose fixed rate mortgages which offer the security of monthly repayments for the fixed term,” says Jaedon Green, director of product and distribution at Leeds Building Society.
“When this is your largest monthly outgoing, the certainty helps with budgeting, but some borrowers (including first-time buyers) will want to minimise their initial costs, so they might choose a product with cashback, a low or zero fee, or with a free valuation.”
Shared ownership (which allows you to buy and own part of a property, and lease the rest from a housing association) has become increasingly popular – although your household income must be less than £80,000 to be eligible for the scheme.
“We’ve championed schemes such as shared ownership, and this has made a real impact over the past 20 years. It now accounts for some 200,000 properties nationally,” Green explains. “It helps improve access to housing through having a lower mortgage deposit requirement. Customers only pay a deposit on the share they own, so they can buy a share between 25 and 75 per cent of the property, and pay rent on the remainder.
Average cost of property in Leeds
Houses: £208,753
Flats: £158,000
Terraced houses: £144,966
Average cost of a deposit across Yorkshire and the Humber: £19,848
Most expensive areas to buy LS22 (Wetherby, Linton and Collingham)
averaging £404,292 LS29 (Ilkley, Addingham and Burley in Wharfedale)
averaging £401,423 LS23 (Boston Spa, Bramham and Thorp Arch)
averaging £374,043
Cheapest areas to buy LS9 (Harehills, Burmantofts and Gipton)
averaging £103,358 LS11 (Beeston, Cottingley and Holbeck)
averaging £106,053 LS10 (Hunslet, Belle Isle and Leeds City Centre)
averaging £142,906

Mortgage Advice in Leeds – http://leedsmoneyman.com

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