I'm disabled and want to buy a house in Newcastle - but I'm just surviving | Project Peter Pan

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Young people across the UK are struggling to get on the housing ladder, and we spoke to one person priced out of a move to Newcastle.

For 30 year old Daniel Batey, life out of university wasn't easy. After his 2019 graduation he struggled to find a job throughout the Covid pandemic and now feels as though his life has been put on hold by the house prices in the North East.

Currently living in Sunderland, where he now balances a part time retail job with special needs benefits, but keen to move to Newcastle, his hopes of having a home to call his own are dwindling.

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And we are highlighting his story, like many others across the UK, as part of our Project Peter Pan initiative.

Project Peter Pan - launched as the UK heads toward a general election in 2024 - aims to use our collective media power to give a voice to those in their 20s and 30s who have negotiated a pandemic, work hard and are ambitious, yet are lost.

Frozen out of the housing ladder and stuck in a rental cycle often in substandard accommodation, many are in debt and facing impossible decisions. Meanwhile, they face accusations of 'laziness' as costs of living spiral, sparking a mental health epidemic. Politicians should take heed - they have a lot to say.

Reporters across our UK titles have been listening to the many who have delayed starting families, are moving back home in their 30s, are reliant on the bank of mum and dad, living in substandard rental properties, losing career aspirations, putting off university and facing the realities of never buying a home.

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"I lived with my family for a bit and wanted to get out into the world but it's not an option with the income I'm getting in" Daniel explains.

"I'm just surviving basically. It's a real struggle.

"I'm on minimum hours due to no full-time being available."

At a national level, average UK house prices grew by 20.4% between January 2020 and December 2022 before a further rise of 4.6% in 2023.

Daniel currently rents a home in Sunderland. "At the end of the day [money] is going towards a house that I don't own and it doesn't help me in the long run.

"I have been wanting my own place but it doesn't seem feasible."

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Daniel has previously received universal credit, but since finding a job only gets PIP, or Personal Independence Payment. This is payment to support with living costs for members of the public with a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability.

Anti discrimination laws prevent members of the public being unable to qualify for a mortgage purely based on a physical or mental condition, according to MoneyHelper.org, Some lenders are more likely than others to accept benefits as income when doing their affordability checks. This includes disability-related payments.

The goal at the moment is a move to Newcastle, although the average first time buyer deposit in 2019 according to Zoopla was in excess of £16,000.

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Over the last year, the average sale price of property in Newcastle rose by £8,800 – putting the area top among the North East’s 12 local authorities with price data for annual growth.

First-time buyers in Newcastle spent an average of £172,200 on their property – £6,900 more than a year ago, and £31,700 more than in December 2018.

"I'm nowhere near. I'll be lucky to be in my 50s and 60s [to buy] with how much it costs" Daniel explains.

"Especially for people starting out like myself it's unbelievable. It's not just me, it's my friend who is struggling. He'd never be able to afford that and he's on a better income than I am."

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The average cost of a property in December 2023 in Newcastle was £199,817 compared to the North East average of £157,557. Nationally, the average sale was completed at £284,691.

So where does that leave Daniel for now?

"Independence has always been important to me and having my own living space which nobody else gets control of what to do with the space."

His hope is to get into animation - something he has been passionate about since a young age and has an undergraduate degree in.

"From the way things are looking [his situation] depends on where I end up. I plan to go and do a masters degree now, which again is more money but at the end of the day should help me get that dream job.

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"I'd say it's a slim possibility but in five years I may be at that point where I can buy a house, but that's a slim possibility.

"Ten years would probably be more realistic but you don't want to be waiting that long. I can't do certain things which I'd like to be able to do in my own home.

"Even once I do get into the I'll have to start paying uni debts which would be even more of a problem of saving for housing.

"The dream home sadly is just that in itself, just a dream at this point."

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