The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nearly half (46%) of first-time buyers to delay their plans of purchasing a home by an average time of nearly a year, according to the latest First Time Buyer Index from Aldermore.
One in six (17%) have had a property sale fall through and one in five (20%) have said that they pulled out of buying due to lockdown.
The pandemic has also caused 49% of first-time buyers to worry about their financial security.
The index also shows that two fifths (39%) of prospective first-time buyers are now reconsidering their property type due to lockdown, with four in 10 (42%) saying that having a garden or balcony is a top priority and a third (33%) now looking for properties near the countryside or parks.
However, 38% say there are fewer properties on sale now which fit their preferences.
The Government’s bid to revive the housing market with a stamp duty holiday, announced in July, has proven to be popular among prospective first time buyers.
Nearly a third (31%) believe it will be a big help to them, rising to half (47%) of those looking to buy their first home in the next 12 months.
Furthermore, a quarter (24%) say the stamp duty holiday has brought forward their home buying plans, in order to meet the 31 March 2021 deadline, and a further fifth (21%) say they will borrow money from friends and family to buy ahead of the deadline.
The index suggests that two in five (42%) have said they are more motivated to buy now than they were before lockdown.
However, the same proportion felt lockdown had made the journey more stressful.
Jon Cooper, head of mortgage distribution at Aldermore, said: “First-time buyers experience strong financial and emotional challenges at the best of times as they go through the home buying journey, but it appears now this has been heightened by COVID-19.
“The wider economic recovery will be the real determining factor for how the first-time buyer market performs this year.
“First-time buyers need job security if they are to feel confident in taking the plunge in what is one of the biggest financial investments of their lives.
“It’s encouraging to see increased delays and challenges have not dampened prospective buyers home buying dreams, in fact they appear more motivated than ever after the lockdown experience.
“It’s important as conditions continue to change that new buyers seek expert advice from brokers who will be able to outline options and help ease the confusion of the process that many feel.
“Stamp duty relief also appears to have received a positive response from first time buyers, with many seeing it as a welcome boost.
“The initial costs of getting on the ladder can be a real barrier to many, so anything that helps reduce that entry fee for some is welcome for the housing market.”