Zoopla: FTBs to remain largest home buyer group

Jessica Nangle

September 6, 2019

First Time Buyers (FTBs) will remain the largest home buyer group in the UK across 2019 according to the latest research by Zoopla.

The report analyses changing trends and barriers to home ownership faced by FTBs.

The report concludes that FTBs are taking a longer term view, typically seeking 3 plus bedroom properties which they can grow into.

The number of house purchases made by FTBs has been on an upward trajectory, up 85% since 2010 according to UK Finance.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Zoopla, said: “First-time buyers have been the driving force behind the housing sales market in recent years.

“Lower mortgage rates, and improving mortgage availability have supported the growth in FTB numbers across the country.

“Despite increased barriers from high house prices in southern England and mortgage regulations, the appetite to buy their first home remains strong.

“Whilst the outlook is more challenging in London, growth in FTB volumes is expected to be driven in regional markets where affordability remains attractive, supported by greater availability of higher loan to value mortgages.”

FTBs are reportedly being impacted by new mortgage regulations designed to stop households taking on high levels of debt at a time.

Donnell adds: “It is not just the high house prices and large deposits first-time buyers need to overcome to reach their goal of buying their first home.

“Mortgage regulations introduced after the global financial crisis to ensure households do not become over-indebted mean affordability testing creates an additional hurdle.

“The impacts of these changes have been felt most in the highest value housing markets and London is the region where FTB numbers have fallen back over the last four years.

“Faced with affordability constraints, first-time buyers have two options: shift focus to buy smaller, less-expensive homes or take advantage of the increasing availability of high loan-to-value mortgages.”

The average price of homes bought by FTBs outside London is 8% lower than the regional average.

Donnell concluded: The greatest potential for further growth in first-time buyer numbers is in the North West and Scotland, where growth has been most robust recently.

“Changes to the help to buy scheme in England from 2021 could have an impact on the 14% of FTBs using this scheme to buy their first home.

“However, the impact could be off-set by higher loan to value lending and newer forms of tenure such as shared ownership.

“First-time buyers will be the largest buyer group this year and there is no evidence that the long run appetite for home ownership will diminish any time soon.”

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