Gardens at the heart of first time buyers
However, the findings reveal that the importance of some other features lessens once people settle in, suggesting compromise could pay off in the long-term for potential first time buyers.
For example, while 36% of potential first time buyers see living near good public transport as key, it is far less of a factor for those who recently bought their first home (26%) which suggests this is a compromise they made and didn’t regret.
While 23% of potential first time buyers say they would be happy to buy a smaller house in a more desirable area, just 9% of those who bought in the last year agree.
The feeling that experience provides a different outlook is backed up by the numbers who want a property to be low maintenance.
The appeal of that attribute increases by 8% to 36% among recent first-time buyers who know what looking after your own home really involves.
Recent first time buyers are also far more likely than potential first-time buyers to want a home that is near their family (36% compared to 26%).
Regional differences also apply and potential first-time buyers in London (63%) are far more likely to value access to good public transport than those in the East Midlands (19%).
First time buyers in the North East are most likely to value a low maintenance property (38%) while those in the South East (37%), Yorkshire (35%) and the East of England (35%) are most committed to living near their families. Londoners (29%) and those in the North West (28%) are most likely to want to buy a smaller house in a more desirable area compared to those in the North East (15%).
Chris Smith, group direct mortgage manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Many potential first time buyers have a very clear picture of what they want from a first home and may be holding back until the perfect property comes on the market.
“However, when you compare potential first-time buyers’ ‘must-haves’ to those seen as important by people who recently bought their first home, you can identify some compromises which could benefit them long-term.
“A garden’s appeal remains fixed but living close to public transport becomes less important and views on picking location over property size also change within just a year.
“First time buyers are vital to the housing market, and here at the Yorkshire we are doing our best to help. In the first six months of 2012, we increased our overall net mortgage lending compared to the same period last year, with approvals to first-time buyers up 32%.
“As a trusted mutual which exists for the benefit of its customers not shareholders, Yorkshire Building Society is also playing its part in helping people get on the property ladder by offering mortgages with low up-front costs and incentives like free valuations designed with first-time buyers in mind.
“We also have a strong range of savings products for people building a deposit, including an account specifically for first-time buyers.”