No one forgets their first time: the dry mouth, butterflies in the stomach, the worry that it might all go wrong.
But that moment when you collect the keys to your first home is one millions of people still yearn to experience.
Almost three-quarters of younger adults (aged 24 to 35) say they still expect to own their own home at some point, even though achieving this has got steadily more difficult and expensive as property prices, and especially the cost of finding a deposit, have spiralled.
In the South East, where demand for housing is rising and prices tend to be high, buying your first home can seem especially daunting.
But in East Sussex things are a little easier. First-time buyers are discovering the county still has relatively good value homes on offer.
The average price of a flat or maisonette in the South East as a whole was most recently £230,600 – in East Sussex the same type of property was £191,000 on average. For terraced houses the South East figure was a little over £305,000 – where in East Sussex it was £269,000.
And within East Sussex, first-time buyers are flocking to neighbourhoods and areas which look like particularly good value – for example, places where good-sized homes or period properties are still affordable for some saving for their first home. In many of these places, first-time buyers are playing a part in re-energising the communities they’ve joined.
It’s not only about price of course. East Sussex has other advantages to pull in first-time buyers – including get-away-from-it-all countryside on everyone’s doorstep, its famous coastline, primary schools which are good or outstanding in 9 out of 10 cases, and a real sense of community that’s rare to find in somewhere so close to London.
Mike Cogswell, Location Research Manager, Locate East Sussex, the county’s official inward investment service, says: “First-time buyers are finding East Sussex offers a compelling balance in the affordability/quality of life equation. Whether they’re seeking a pied-à-terre with a seafront view, or a character property in a charming village, those new to the housing market will find a cost-effective base from which to enjoy the booming cultural revival and stunning countryside to be found in East Sussex.
“And for anyone seeking to set up a business there are start-up grants, a wide range of affordable business premises – and a welcoming business community. All this in the heart of the South East with easy access to London.”
Lifestyle then can be as much of a draw as price.
Yet it’s also true that the cost of home-buying is the big obstacle for most first-timers. Your East Sussex has been on tour to ask some local property experts where they’d suggest looking for a first home – and had a nose around the areas they recommended.
The vibrant smaller town that’s pulling in Sussex’s first-time buyers