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

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We spoke to some of the city's top property professionals for advice on buying your first home.

Getting the most for your money

“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.”

New builds versus older properties

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

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

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