How to buy your first home in Manchester

For first time buyers, the prospect of buying your first home can seem daunting, and often out of reach. Here we’re going to explore the options, set out what you need to do and show you what help is available to get you on the property ladder.

Buying versus renting

Choosing whether to buy or rent can be a tricky decision, there are pros and cons to both. 

One major benefit of buying a home is the freedom to decorate and make any changes you want to without having to answer to a landlord. Another pro is that when you buy an apartment  your monthly payments are going towards something you will eventually own, making you the beneficiary rather than a landlord. 

Saving for a deposit

In order to buy your first home you need to save a deposit. In most instances, the minimum deposit you’ll need to save is 5% of the total cost of the property you want to buy. However, the bigger the deposit you can save, the wider range of mortgage deals will be available to you. This is because the larger your deposit, the lower the risk you are seen to be to mortgage lenders.

House prices are continuing to rise in the current market, and buying a house can begin to feel like a pipe dream, with paying rent feeling like the easier option. Luckily, there is some government help available for first time buyers. The Help to Buy Equity Loan and Lifetime ISA options can both boost the savings you already have. 

To give you an idea what a 5% deposit looks like, if you want to buy a home costing £150,000, you’ll need to save at least £7,500.

A Help to Buy ISA is a bank account that helps first time buyers grow their savings to add to bonuses to their deposit. First time buyers can save up to £200 a month with a Help to Buy ISA and the money will grow tax-free, and when you come to being ready to buy the government will top up the amount you’ve saved by 25%. 

With a Lifetime ISA you can save up to £4000 a year and the government will add a 25% bonus annually. 


Unless you are in the fortunate position of being able to purchase a property with cash, it’s most likely that you will need to get a mortgage. 

In simple terms, a mortgage is a particular loan from the bank or building society against the property you want to buy. The borrower then pays back the loaned amount in addition to the interest accrued. 

Research is key when looking for the best mortgage deals. Searching the best mortgage rates online is a good place to start, check out comparison sites and consult a mortgage broker, who may be able to access more competitive deals not available through regular research. Speak to a member of our team today for free independent financial advice.

Our Independent financial advisor will be able to advise you on:

  • The size of your deposit required
  • Affordability
  • Interest rates 
  • Which types of mortgages are available to you
  • And be able to answer any question you may have

Rigorous checks are also in place by lenders to ensure you can keep up with your mortgage payments, particularly if the interest rate rises or your circumstances change. 

Ahead of getting on the property ladder you’ll need to show proof of earnings and incomings and outgoings, such as household bills and other living costs, You’ll also need evidence of your financial profile, including bank statements and pay slips.

Different types of mortgages

Some of the most common types of mortgage are:

A fixed rate mortgage: This means the interest rate will stay the same for a particular length of time. Once that term comes to an end, you’ll be transferred to the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) This mortgage is particularly attractive for first-time buyers as it offers stability and safety, however they tend to be more expensive as you’re paying for additional peace of mind.

Tracker mortgage: Typically follows the Bank Rate, the benchmark interest rate set by the Bank of England for a certain period. It’s a variable rate, so your monthly repayments can change. If the Bank Rate increases, so will your mortgage payments.

Discount mortgage: Interest rate is tracked at a particular discount to the lenders SVR for a particular length of time. Therefore the rate will vary. Normally, the steeper the reduction, the shorter the period of discount will be. 

Standard variable rate mortgage: Normally doesn’t include any deals or discounts. Most are advised to move away from this type of mortgage at the earliest opportunity to find a cheaper alternative.

Guarantor mortgage: Getting on the property ladder can be tough, which is why a growing number of lenders are offering mortgages that allow parents to contribute. A guarantor mortgage allows family members to pay the mortgage if you are unable to.

Offset mortgage: Allows you to link your current and savings accounts to your mortgage. Good for saving money as it only charges interest based on the net balance.

Remember to budget for the other costs of buying a home

Mortgage payments may seem like the biggest outgoing when buying your first home, but there are other costs to take into account. 

These include:

  • Survey costs                       
  •  Solicitor Fees                      
  • Removal costs                     
  • Buildings Insurance 
  • Furnishing and decorating        
  • Mortgage arrangement fees 
  • Home Insurance


What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is a land tax you pay on your home . The more valuable your house is, the more Stamp Duty you pay. 

In England and Northern Ireland it’s called Stamp Duty Land Tax.

In Wales, Land Transaction Tax.

In Scotland it’s known as Land and Buildings Transaction Tax

An important note is if you buy a property on or before 31st March 2021, you won’t pay any Stamp Duty on properties costing up to £500,000.

Clean up your current account and check your credit score

Prepping your current account ahead of submitting your mortgage application is key to ensuring mortgage brokers look kindly on you. How much you can borrow is determined by your mortgage lender who will do an affordability test based on your monthly incomings and outgoings. 

A good tip is to go through your current account at least six months before you make an application and identify for yourself where your money is going.  Expensive gym memberships, shopping habits or a tendency to end up in your overdraft at the end of the month will all have an effect on your finances. Try and curb what you can before the lender starts looking to better your chances of getting a good mortgage deal. Having a  good credit score is also an indicator to a lender you are a reliable borrower when they are assessing your mortgage application, so be sure to do your research about how to improve your score. 

Talk to your family

Getting on the property ladder can be tough with no help, and you may be lucky enough not to have to go it alone. The Bank of Mum and Dad was recently considered the sixth biggest lender in the UK mortgage market because so many parents are helping their children out with their first home.

Families can help without having to surrender their savings. Many mortgage lenders now offer products aimed at people whose families are in the position to help them out.  It’s worth exploring your options with a mortgage broker if this is something that is available to you.

Find your perfect home

Striking the balance to find the best first home can be a big decision, and making the choice between city life and the suburbs can prove tough.

New Cross Central homes provide the best of both worlds, spacious and airy places with all the benefits of life in the city centre.

Find out more about owning your home at New Cross Central.


The Best Gyms In Manchester City Centre

While 2020 may have been the year of the home workout, yoga in your spare room isn’t for everyone, so we’ve rounded up the seven best gyms in Manchester City Centre.

Whether lockdown took its toll on your waistline, or you’re looking to kickstart a new fitness hobby, we’ve considered location, workout style and goals in this list – grab your trainers!


Described as a ‘boutique’ by its owners, this independent gym on Dale Street avoids the clinical feel of some mainstream chain gyms. Arguably one of the coolest gyms in central Manchester, V1be features a fashionable aesthetic enhanced with live DJ’s. For the tech minded among us, there is an emphasis on heart rate monitoring and vital stat tracking. The data adds a competitive edge, so you can challenge yourself or rope in a friend or partner to battle against.

Find out more here

Gym and Juice 

Previously based on Oldham Road, Gym and Juice shifted their offering to outdoor classes post lockdown. Dubbed ‘Urban Playground’, their team of personal trainers run various fitness classes across Ancoats and New Islington focusing on HIIT, strength and core training. Since restrictions have lifted slightly, the team now has an indoor space in Castlefield dedicated to meditation and yoga. 

You can find their weekly timetable via Classpass

Les Mills

Unless you’ve been avoiding the internet for the last ten years, it’s likely you’ve heard of Les Mills in some form or another. It’s namesake is four-time Olympian Les Mills, and catapulted into success through their ‘Bodypump’ classes. The beauty of Les Mills is you can choose a gym nearby to attend the class – and there’s plenty in Manchester City Centre –  or complete them from home if group fitness classes aren’t your thing. 

Find a class to suit you today 

Crossfit Ancoats

 If you’re local to the Ancoats or New Islington area, you’ll likely have seen members of Crossfit Ancoats training in Cutting Room Square over the summer. Once the colder months hit they retreat back to their ‘Box’ in the heart of Ancoats, just a stone’s throw from Manchester City Centre to offer Crossfit training, classes and personal training sessions from beginner level up to experienced. 

Find their timetable here


If you’re after a flexible and budget-friendly gym, this is the place for you. PureGym has 17 gyms across Manchester to choose from, including Spinningfields and the Northern Quarter in the city centre. Aside from its purse friendly price point, the gym has everything you need, with contract-free memberships and 50 fitness classes a week included at no extra cost. 

Find your nearest PureGym here


The newest member on the indie gym scene, KOR has two studios, Resistance and Revolution. In the first, you’ll find everything needed for high intensity interval training (HIIT) alongside the usual suspects of treadmills, weights and assault bikes. Revolution is the place for spin classes, where experienced instructors will talk you through intense but rewarding classes via the Life Fitness Connect app. Think a blackout studio with giant screens, making for a fully immersive experience, and if you’re feeling a bit gym-timidated the team offers day passes for you to try a session out.

Check them out here 

Livingwell Health Club

If you like exercise to feel like a luxury, there are few better places to work out than the Hilton Deansgate, in Manchester City Centre, where Livingwell Health Club is based. Think high-tech gym equipment, a 20 metre swimming pool and complimentary toiletries once you’re finished working up a sweat. The team will also set up a free personalised Fitness For Life programme to help you achieve your goals and if you really want to kick it up a notch, personal training is available too. 

Find out more here

Interested in owning your own home in New Cross Central? Find out more here

The Best New Restaurants in Manchester City Centre You Should Try

This year has seen us spend more time at home than we ever planned to, and hospitality has been one of the hardest-hit industries, that being said, Manchester City Centre still has one of the best food and drink scenes in the UK. 

While you may now be well acquainted with your oven, or at least your Deliveroo driver, there’s never been a better time to start planning where to head out to eat in Manchester in the coming months.

With so many great places on offer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, luckily, we’ve taken the time to pick out some of the best new dining experiences Greater Manchester has available, whether you’re entirely plant-based, looking for somewhere off the beaten track, or fancy the ultimate indulgence of a Michelin star rated experience, there is something to satisfy anyone’s taste! 



The restaurant to finally bring a Michelin Star to Manchester. Mana, based in Ancoats, a short walk from the city centre, promises to bring the best of British produce in an exclusive setting. Focusing on natural resources to take patrons on a culinary journey in their dining room, with open kitchen, throughout the evening, the avant-garde menu is full of locally sourced ingredients which change based on seasonality.  If you’re looking for fine dining and an extensive wine list, this is it.

Mana is in high demand and there is an extensive waiting list. Make a booking enquiry here 

Update –  Mana is temporarily closed due to the tier three restrictions in Manchester, but gift vouchers are available for when they reopen.


202 Kitchen

An overnight success, 202 Kitchen has become an instant hit with influencers and celebrities local to Manchester, mainly due to it’s Barbie pink interior and Instagram-ready decor. Originally birthed from the owners of 101 nightclub in Birmingham, owners Leon Beckford, John Rambo and Panikos Parper changed their offering when the first Coronavirus lockdown hit to allow for the change in the market, and swiftly set up their restaurant offering in both cities.

Serving a ‘trapbox’ style menu – a recent food scene development where food is piled into a box and promoted on social media – and an extensive themed cocktail list, this is the place to go if you want to be seen. 

202 Kitchen is on Bridge Street – check booking availability here.


Peck & Yard

Fried chicken worth venturing to Great Ancoats Street for! Already a firm favourite at their flagship site in Chorlton, Peck & Yard has opened a second, slightly smaller site on the edge of the Northern Quarter. Forget Kentucky fried, the team offer Asian style fried chicken, with exciting flavour twists like Korean barbecue and classic salt and pepper.  There’s also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options including halloumi strips and cauliflower bites, all drenched in your choice of sauce. 

A casual setting, the site only has a few tables and will also operate as a takeaway, so don’t worry about needing to book a table. Peck & Yard is also available on Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat.


Pho Cue Kitchen

If you’re looking for something slightly off the beaten track, why not wander into Manchester’s China Town one weekend? Brilliantly named Pho Cue opened over the summer and infuses traditional Vietnamese food with some wildcard options including Vietnamese-style tacos and Katsu Curry. This place is worth the walk from New Cross Central.

Letting each dish speak for itself, the Cue family, prepare and cook each dish from scratch, just as it would be done traditionally in Vietnam. The epitome of family-run, with owner Cue being joined in the kitchen by his mum, as well as his uncle as head chef.

Update – Pho Cue Kitchen is currently offering takeaway alongside their dine-in options.


Escape To Freight Island

Another triumph of an otherwise pretty bad year for the restaurant industry, Escape to Freight Island popped up almost out of nowhere over the summer to take over the old Mayfield Depot space near Piccadilly Station. An outdoor eating and drinking space from the creators of Camden Town Brewery, the regenerated space hosts a whole load of independent food traders, including Voodoo Rays Pizza and Krum doughnuts.

Somehow, the team have managed to expand even in 2020 and have just launched their new winter ticket hall, which brings all the magic of the festive season into one place. Bringing the vibes of freight island inside to a warmer setting, the ticket hall will feature pop-ups from some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, including Sugo Pasta Kitchen and cocktail bar The Jayne Eyre. There will also be a craft beer offering from Manchester’s own Pomona Island Brewery, plus a taproom from Camden Town.

Escape To Freight Island is currently closed due to the national lockdown measures in England, we can’t wait to visit them as soon as we’re able to.

Check out Escape To Freight Island for the latest updates here.


Delhi House Cafe

Opening during the slight lockdown lift of the summer, family-owned Delhi House Cafe in the Corn Exchange is aiming to carve a niche for itself in a city full of great Indian Restaurants.

Featured in The Guardian by Jay Rayner, who gave a glowing review, Delhi House Cafe is an ambitious offering, with a mixture of Indian Tapas style dishes and larger plates. 

The Lamba family chose Manchester as their first UK spot to showcase their exciting and unique take on traditional Indian cuisine, featuring South Asian dishes with a twist, including the ‘Not My Burger’ special and other Indian street food dishes, a real treat for those who love to combine flavours of the East and West. 

Book your table here

Update: Delhi House Cafe is currently closed due to tier three restrictions in force in Manchester


Black Leaf

An extension of the already popular garden-themed bar Alvarium in the Northern Quarter, Black Leaf is offering a brand new food concept. Situated in the basement of the bar, diners can expect an exciting and adventurous plant-based menu to tickle their taste buds. Creative and innovative flavours are used in each dish, and head chef Adam Leavy has even mastered the vegan scotch egg. 

The ambitious offering takes the idealogy of the garden theme of Alvarium and transfers the decor into its menu. As one of the only spots in the city dedicated to offering a three-course plant-based menu, it’s sure to be a hit with vegans and carnivores alike.

Regulars to Alvarium will also be pleased to know the extensive plant-based cocktail menu the bar is famous for will be available in the restaurant, and there’s even a delicious dairy-free black forest gateaux on offer, so make sure to save room for dessert!

Make a booking enquiry here

Update – Black Leaf is currently running a click and collect takeaway service due to tier three restrictions in the Manchester area.


Another Heart To Feed

One of the most recent openings on our guide, this Australian inspired brunch and natural wine spot in the heart of the Northern Quarter opened its doors in September is already proving to be a hit with locals.

The second site for the team, the first being in Didsbury,  Another Heart To Feed is located in Stevenson Square and serves all the brunch classics you’d expect, like smashed avocado toast and poached eggs, inspired by travels to the brunch scene of Melbourne and Sydney. You’ll also find vibrant additions like acai bowls and their house-made beans on sourdough toast.  They also have an extensive cocktail menu for a tipple or two! 

The team doesn’t take bookings & tables are on a first come first serve basis.

Have you eaten somewhere in Manchester City Centre and think we should be shouting about it? Get in touch with us on Instagram.