First-time buyers remain eager to buy, research finds

The COVID-19 pandemic has not dissuaded first-time buyers from pressing ahead with their housing plans as 93% are still considering buying in 2020, new research from Legal & General Mortgage Club has revealed.

The mortgage club also stated that a majority 51% of first-time buyers have indicated they “definitely intend to buy” this year.

Legal & General suggested its research, which quizzed 2,000 first-time buyers, has challenged concerns that the coronavirus crisis has prevented thousands of people, including those stepping onto the ladder, from buying property this year.

The data revealed that another 35% of first-time buyers indicated the pandemic has had no impact on their plans to buy, while the average delay in buying for those that have been impacted was seven months.

“It is clear from our research that the COVID-19 crisis has done little to dampen the ambition of the UK’s first-time buyers,” Legal & General Mortgage Club director, Kevin Roberts, commented.

“The mortgage market is already seeing pent-up demand from homebuyers after two months of lockdown. Advisers are busy helping borrowers to find the right mortgage and these findings suggest that this demand is set to continue in 2020 with the majority of prospective homeowners planning to buy this year.”

The data also suggested that coronavirus has caused a shift in property requirements amongst first-time buyers, with 22% of respondents saying they now plan to buy in a more rural area.

Reflecting the move towards remote working across the UK, Legal & General also said its research has found the number first-time buyers seeking properties with space for a home office has almost doubled from 16% to 29%.
“What we are clearly starting to see is a shift in where Britain’s first-time buyers plan to buy,” Roberts continued. “Where the city was once the first choice for many, more are now looking to the suburbs and even rural areas to buy.

“Remote working and enforced time at home have also both influenced first-time buyers to seek out properties with more ‘office’ and outdoor space. This could lead to a rise in demand in previously overlooked areas, which will need to be matched by housing supply.
“For some buyers, the crisis has even improved their chances of buying their first home by making it easier for them to save towards a deposit. Less money spent on commuting or social activities as helped them increase the amount the putting away each month, which could help to bring their homeownership ambitions forward, especially as lenders return to high loan-to-value lending.”

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