There is an unspoken property rule that dictates the order in which you climb the ladder: house share, rent a whole property, buy your first home - quite possibly a flat - trade up to a family house then downsize to an apartment or bungalow once any children have flown the nest.
There is, however, an undercurrent in the property market that was highlighted in a recent Q&A article in The Guardian. Some young people are questioning whether their first property purchase should actually be a buy-to-let as opposed to a property they live in themselves. In this article's case, it's actually a student who has taken a gap year to explore becoming a landlord.
It's not the only time we have heard about first-time buyers opting for property investment over an owner-occupier status, and the author here alludes to a student who actually used their student loan to secure a buy-to-let property.
So what is spurring on young people to become landlords? Firstly, interest rates on savings are minuscule, meaning money held in banks isn't working hard for the investor. The yields on rental properties currently far outweigh the return on savings accounts and most cash ISAs, plus there's the prospect of long-term appreciation.
Secondly, even the most competent adult can find pensions impossible to understand, so many younger people are turning their back on traditional savings methods in favour of property, as they find it easier to understand - especially since the asset is tangible.
Lastly, many young people are happy to stick with house shares, rental properties and even living in the family home, using any money saved to pay for future plans in a way they can understand - perhaps moving into their buy-to-let in the future, or selling it to release equity when the time is right.
The big question is making the figures work in terms of deposits, buy-to-let mortgages, yields and taxes, as the article explores. Our advice is to talk to a good local estate agent who can also organise a meeting with an independent IFA. With the right advice, you can become a first-time buyer and a landlord at the same time.
Your choice may be more limited than that of other buyers. Some lenders won’t accept applications from people aged under 21 or 25. The fact that you don’t already have a mortgage on another property is also a bit of a no-no for some but there are around 20 lenders (out of the 76 listed by Moneyfacts) who will look at applications from first-time buy-to-let buyers.