Best ways to get on the property ladder for first-time buyers in 2024: Top 7

inside house with staircase
Published on
April 24, 2024

The UK housing crisis makes it harder for first-time buyers to jump on the property ladder than previous generations. However, a few strategies can help heighten your chances of being a homeowner. Here are some of the best ways to get on the property ladder for first-time buyers.

1. Property Co-Ownership

The majority of mortgage applications are completed by joint first-time buyers, according to Halifax. This is not surprising, given hiking interest rates and stagnant or slow-progressing salaries.

If you’re a first-time buyer, it may be worth looking into joint ownership. But don’t fret. You don’t have to rush to couple up romantically to do this. 

More and more people are partnering with friends and family to jump on the property ladder as a first-time buyer.

Of course, just ensure the person you pair up with is someone you trust and that you’re both fully aware of the responsibilities that come with joint ownership. Always lean on legal advice to ensure both party’s present and future interests are protected too.

2. Start a side hustle

Many people with full-time jobs have salaries that make it difficult to keep up with the cost of living. To give yourself a better chance of not being bound to your salary, why not start a side hustle? This could help fast-track your journey to buying your first home.

A side hustle does not have to be a time-consuming business. For example, it could be as simple as renting your car while at work. Some people have made as much as £7,000 a year from doing this. With mortgage lenders more open to accepting secondary income, now is arguably the best time to start a side hustle.

3. Property Co-Living

The pressures of high-interest rates have also led to homeowners sharing their houses with people they rent out rooms to. Many people buy properties with 2+ bedrooms and then rent rooms to beat the growing cost of borrowing. But being a living landlord doesn’t mean you have to always share your space.

For example, live-in landlords are popular in areas with university students, as there is always a demand. You can rent out your space only during university term times, for example, and then during the holiday, you have the space back for yourself.

Or, if you want an older tenant, you could rent out a room on a short-term basis to someone who needs somewhere to stay a few days a week because of work commitments.

The rise in Airbnb short-term landlords has seen the average host landlord make £5,500 a year by sharing their space on the platform.

Whether on a short-term or full-time let basis, buying a property with a spare room allows you more flexibility and the potential for extra income to help pay your mortgage balance off faster.

4. Consider relocating from major cities

couple moving out home

If your hometown is a popular city, like London, you may want to consider relocating to an area that is more within your affordability bracket.

It could still be within a commutable distance of your hometown, too. 

With property, it’s important to think ahead. If you find the next upcoming commuter town to a major city, this could significantly help increase the value of your home over the years as demand to live there increases. 

5. Research housing schemes for first-time buyers

If jumping on the property ladder is proving tricky, it may also be worth looking at the affordable housing schemes available and finding out which would be best suited for you. From Shared Ownership to First Homes, there are a range of housing schemes available that may make jumping on the property ladder easier for you.

However, each scheme has pros and cons. So, thoroughly researching each one and how it may affect you is essential before proceeding to buy with any housing scheme. The Homebuyers Club has video courses and discussion threads that dive into the details of these schemes. 

6. Open a Lifetime ISA

Opening a Lifetime ISA means you’ll get a 25% government boost for your deposit. So, for example, if you save £10, the government will add £2.50.

Lifetime ISAs allow you to save up to £4000 in lifetime ISAs every tax year. This means that, on a good year, if you successfully meet this threshold, you could get a whopping £1000 a year towards your deposit.

7. Speak to a mortgage broker

mortgage broker shaking hands with property owners

Even if you think your current salary is low, speaking to a mortgage broker as soon as possible will help you better understand your mortgage eligibility. Finding out what is and isn’t feasible better equips you to start saving towards your deposit.

If you want more guidance on how to get on the property ladder as a first-time buyer, The Homebuyers Club is an online community hosted with valuable resources from property experts, including our founders Antoinette and Tayo Oguntonade, to help you with this. 

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