The amount of people purchasing their first home has risen to its highest level in a decade. A report by Halifax shows that in 2017, an estimated 359,000 homes were bought by first-time buyers. This is the highest number of first-time property buyers in ten years.
Low interest rates coupled with Government schemes such as Help to Buy, aimed at helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder, are being cited as contributing factors in the rise of first property sales.
The upward trend to get a foothold on the property ladder comes despite the hefty deposits required when purchasing property. An average deposit of £33,339 is now put down on first-time properties, a 91% increase compared to ten years ago. In London, the average deposit is £112,604, Halifax’s research found.
The average age of those purchasing their first property is also increasing. In 2017 the average age of a first-time buyer was 31, two years older than the average age in 2007. The research also showed that nearly half of all property purchases made in the UK with a mortgage are made by first-time buyers. This contrasts to a decade ago, when first property buyers made up 36% of all house purchases with mortgages.
Despite the fact mandatory deposits are now significantly higher on properties and the average age of first-time buyers is increasing, Nationwide’s data shows that a growing number of first property purchasers are successfully getting their foot on the housing ladder.
A further drive to help first-time buyers purchase a home, was announced by the Chancellor in November 2017. First-time buyers in England, Wales or Northern Ireland no longer have to pay stamp duty on properties worth up to £300,000. For properties costing up to £500,000, first-time buyers will only pay stamp duty over the first £300,000. And for homes worth £500,000 and over, the standard stamp duty rates will apply.
First-time buyers are generally classified as those purchasing their only or main residence and who have never owned a residential property either in the UK or abroad.
If you are a first-time buyer and would like advice on stamp duty or other aspects buying your first property, get in touch with one of our highly trained property experts today.