The property features most attractive to FTBs

362,000 first-time buyers made the jump to homeownership in 2022 accounting for 52% of all home purchase loans last year. New research reveals what features are attracting them to the homes that they bought.

Related topics:  Property,  house hunters,  FTB
Property | Reporter
8th June 2023
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"It’s well worth considering what improvements you can make in order to attract a first-time buyer, particularly in current market conditions where buyer demand has started to dwindle"

Gradual Homeownership provider, Wayhome, has revealed which property features are most sought after by today’s homebuyers and which are most worthwhile for sellers to splash out on in a cooling market.

According to figures from Lloyds Banking Group, over 362,000 first-time buyers made the jump to homeownership in 2022 accounting for 52% of all home purchase loans last year, with first-time buyers accounting for an average of 48% of annual market activity over the last decade.

Wayhome commissioned a survey of over 2,500 UK first-time buyers to ascertain which features were most important to them when it comes to the property itself, its outdoor space and the requirements of modern-day life.

Wayhome then compiled a top 10 across all areas of the home, before revealing which add the most value once the cost of implementing them has been accounted for.

1: Modern Kitchen
2: Natural Light
3: Real grass outdoor space
4: Patio outdoor space
5: Energy efficiency
6: Strong WiFi
7: Garage
8: Utility rooms
9: Home office space
10: Bi-folding doors

A modern kitchen topped the list as the most important feature for first-time buyers, with natural light, a real grass garden, a patio area and an energy-efficient property also making the top five.

Other features to make the top 10 include a strong WiFi connection, a garage space, a utility room, a home office and bi-folding doors connecting the inside and outside living spaces.

However, while a modern kitchen sits top in terms of desirability, it’s a fairly costly endeavour at an average of £10,550 to implement. So while it’s thought to add as much as 5.5%, or £15,675 in value, this falls to £5,125 in actual value once you’ve accounted for the cost of the job.

The best project you can undertake to entice first-time buyers while adding real value is a home office space. It’s estimated to add £22,801 in value in the current market, while costing just £5,000 to implement, resulting in £17,801 in actual value added.

At an average of £13,750, a garage can also be an expensive addition to your home. But it is estimated to boost the value of your property by £28,501, which equates to a real-term increase of £14,751 once costs are accounted for.

A strong WiFi connection is one feature that can’t necessarily be bought and so a home with fast WiFi is thought to sell for 4.4% more as a result. That’s a huge £12,540 in the current market. However, if your home suffers from sluggish internet speeds, you can purchase a WiFi booster to help address the issue. These can be as cheap as £40 but a top-of-the-range booster can cost as much as £300, which is a worthwhile investment in the grand scheme of things.

Alternatively, the addition of a utility room is thought to add almost £8,000 in actual value, while increasing natural light (£3,630), improving energy efficiency (£2,395) and ensuring your lawn is the real McCoy and not fake turf (£1,380) are the least worthwhile additions.

Co-founder and CEO of Wayhome, Nigel Purves, commented:

“First-time buyers account for a significant chunk of market activity and attracting one is a surefire way to improve the speed and certainty of your sale as they come with no chain, which also helps strengthen your own position in the market.

"So it’s well worth considering what improvements you can make in order to attract a first-time buyer, particularly in current market conditions where buyer demand has started to dwindle.

"Of course, the other consideration to make is the actual added value any home improvement will bring and this centres largely around the cost it requires to implement.

"It’s also important to consider how needs have changed in recent years and which aspects of pandemic life remain today, as well as which aspects are no longer influential. For example, many of us have continued to work from home on a more regular basis and so the requirement for the space and infrastructure to do so remains important.

"In this respect, the addition of a home office space and improving your WiFi connection are some of the safest bets to help boost the value of your home.”

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