How 1st-time buyers can spot the next property hotspot

House hunters are always looking for an edge to get ahead of the competition and first-time buyers new to the property market need all the help they can get. Getting on estate agent email alerts and signing up for online listings are obvious ways to find out when a property is on the market.

But what’s the best way for first-time buyers to find the area that’s the most up-and-coming and where house prices are affordable now but expected to rise and so earn you a decent profit in the long term?

Digital technology will definitely play a part in identifying potential future property hotspots. And fintech start-up Proportunity is using artificial intelligence to analyse real estate forecasts to pick out the areas that could be next to take off in the property market.

The technology firm, which is set to launch its own Help to Buy loans for first-time buyers, subject to financial authority approval, later this year, teamed up with Post Office Money to create a simple, step-by-step guide for first-time buyers who want to find the next big thing, property-wise.

Vadim Toader, CEO of Proportunity, said: “If you’re a first-time buyer, you’ll likely have to buy at the cheaper end of the property market.

“However, by understanding how to identify the potential property hotspots of tomorrow, your first property could get you on track to buying the home of your dreams before too long.”

Proportunity’s five steps to finding the new Shoreditch, Montpelier in Bristol or Chorlton in Manchester are:

Decide on the city/region you want to move to and look at its more affordable areas, identifying these through both asking prices and actual selling prices. The area’s average asking/sold price will be lower in these affordable areas.

Note the areas that have seen the highest growth most recently and forget about moving there. Growth there has probably already peaked and prices are unlikely to increase in the short to medium term.

Check out any potential urban transformation projects or plans for new infrastructure. These plans are usually announced at least two years in advance and can often herald regeneration, which can possibly bring an increase in property prices.

Get your nerd head on and analyse the crime stats provided by the Office for National Statistics. Some areas that may have had an image problem with crime in the past could actually be improving. The key is to look at the stats for the longer term and note if they have been falling. That could signal an area is starting to improve and become a more desirable, safer place to live.

Check if there are plans for additional school provision. New schools often indicate that an area is becoming more popular with families and consequently house prices are being pushed up by demand.