Telegraph Voices: What is it like for first-time buyers in Sheffield today?

John Clephan, Joshua Shindig White and Adam Owens
John Clephan, Joshua Shindig White and Adam Owens

What is it really like for first-time buyers in Sheffield today? We asked those in the know.


We found the whole experience of being first time buyers in Sheffield really quite straightforward but the hardest part was finding the ‘right’ house.

The market seemed to really pick up at exactly the same time we were looking to buy so we were a little spoilt for choice.

Unfortunately for us with that it seemed to up the price of housing.

We found viewing houses both ends of the spectrum really helpful from ready to move in houses to a more of a project as it helped us narrow down our search and decide what we both wanted.

As we were looking in a fairly sought after area there was a lot of competition for the same properties which meant you had to act quick with viewings and putting in an offer if you liked somewhere.

Of course with this means we were left disappointed a few times when we missed out on a couple of properties, but this whole experience only led us to grow more definitive with what we wanted outed of the house we were to buy.

Once we had an offer accepted we couldn’t have been luckier, we didn’t have many hurdles in the way at all and the whole process went extremely smoothly. We couldn’t recommend highly enough how important it is to ensure you have a good mortgage advisor.

Based on our experience the only way to make it easier for first time buyers is to offer more of an incentive to get a mortgage. Such as better cash back deals offers on first time mortgages. Or making lower percentage deposit contribution mortgages such as five per cent deposits, interest rates being more affordable for first time buyers.

As saving for the deposit is by far the hardest part we found of buying the house. We couldn’t recommend highly enough the Help to buy ISA scheme, which really needs highlighting more.

It’s a really exciting time turning the house we bought into our first home together.


It is a saying that has been repeated for years but for Sheffield and property prices, it’s all about location, location, location. If you stick to the hot spots, be prepared to pay an inflated price with stiff completion.

I am finding prices are still on the up which puts further strain on the first-time buyers.

Schemes such as Help To Buy, combined with low rates and 95 per cent mortgages have given aspiring home owners a helping hand in recent years.

The average age of a first time buyer is around 27 years of age in my experience as this is a time where higher education is complete and an established income is being received which breathes confidence.

It is believed 47 per cent of all house purchases with a mortgage across the UK were made by first-time buyers and the average price paid for a first home is at a record high of £207,693.

I’m finding first-time buyers stretching their loans out for longer periods, beyond the traditional 25-year term, to cover higher house prices which can eases affordability but comes at a cost of an increase in total amount of interest payable.

On being accepted for a mortgage, it is stringent and can only be assessed on an individual basis but a good clean credit history, being on the electoral roll of the property you reside at and having credit you repay on a monthly basis like a credit card are all going to increase your chances when a lender makes their assent.

Independent advice is always recommended.

Although a small fee in comparison, the mortgage being taken out is payable on application as opposed to going direct to a bank an independent adviser.

Across the UK, the number of first-time buyers reached an estimated 162,704 in the first six months of 2017, which is only 15 per cent below a peak seen in the last boom in 2006.

Is this of concern? Is this the correct time to purchase? Will the market crash again?

My personal opinion is first-time buyers should enter the property ladder early on and any investment should be seen as medium to long term.

Over time, investing in bricks and mortar has more than often proven a sound investment.


It’s widely accepted that once you get over the initial and financial painful hurdle of saving a deposit - it’s plain sailing for buying a home.

But gone are the days of getting your first full-time job and moving into a three-bedroom semi with ease.

House prices for this generation in real terms are astronomical and wages haven’t been rising fast enough.

How can the majority of millennials without mummy and daddy helping them make the transition into owning a home with relative ease?

I applaud those who have stumped up the deposit but not everyone has the luxury of living with parents or relatives to make that saving.

Graduates especially are more likely to move to find work and renting is the only practical option.

It’s very easy to get comfortable renting a place and once you pay the rent, bills, council tax, food and getting to work, saving for that deposit is impossible at worst and painfully slow at best .

I find comfort in the fact I live in a city where house prices are not completely out of reach.

I dread to think how anyone with a decent salary manages to buy in London or the south east.

Anyone across the Channel in France would look upon this with great amusement.

So much is said about owning your own home in the UK but the French have a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to buying outright. Renting for years on end is not looked upon unfavourably as it is here.

But an Englishman’s home is his castle as the saying goes but generation rent is here to stay.


We were formed six years ago and with the vision and support of our partners Sheffield City Council, Keepmoat and Great Places Housing Group, we are continuing to grow year on year.

We are a housing and regeneration company set up to lead a new wave of housing development across the city, providing a catalyst to reinvigorate some of Sheffield’s established suburban neighbourhoods.

With many people struggling to get onto the housing ladder, it is important that our homes are affordably priced for first-time buyers and as a result, 80 per cent of them are bought by first time buyers or young families.

The majority of our properties are family homes for private sale but we do also build affordable rented housing and last year we very successfully launched a shared ownership product through our partner Great Places.

The vast majority of buyers are aged 25 to 45. Usually at that age, if our customers are not already married with young families, they will be thinking about it and therefore they choose their homes with space and flexibility in mind.

Therefore, we build homes that they are going to be able to easily adapt and change as their lifestyles and circumstances change in the years ahead.

We put a lot of thought into the design of our homes to ensure that owners can do this to accommodate their changing needs, depending on their stage of life or lifestyle requirements.

The aims is to specify homes of the highest build quality with the long-term aim of helping Sheffield continue to be one of the best places to live in the UK.

We have has a 15 year plan to build in excess of 2,300 new homes in seven of Sheffield’s most vibrant neighbourhoods.