Half of first-time buyers delaying purchase plans by a year

The coronavirus pandemic has caused 46% of first-time buyers to delay their plans of purchasing a home by an average time of nearly a year (11.4 months), according to new data from Aldermore bank.

First-time buyers have also experienced failed attempts to buy due to the lockdown period, Aldermore stated, with one in six (17%) having a property sale fall through, and one in five (20%) saying they pulled out of buying.

Aldermore’s First-Time Buyer Index, which surveyed 1,000 prospective first-time buyers, also suggested that COVID-19 has caused one in two (49%) first-time buyers to worry about their financial security.

Thirty-nine per cent of prospective first-time buyers are now reconsidering their property type due to lockdown, with the study finding that 42% suggested having a garden or balcony is a top priority, and 33% now looking for properties near countryside or parks. However, the research found that 38% of respondents said there are fewer properties on sale now which fit their preferences.

Aldermore head of mortgage distribution, Jon Cooper, commented: “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.”

Aldermore also suggested the stamp duty holiday announced in July has proven to be popular among prospective first-time buyers. Thirty-one per cent of the study’s respondents indicated it will be a big help to them, and this rose to 47% of those looking to buy their first home in the next 12 months.

Furthermore, 24% of prospective first-time buyers said the stamp duty holiday has brought forward their home buying plans – in order to meet the 31 March 2021 deadline – while a further 21% suggested they will borrow money from friends and family to purchase ahead of the deadline.

“Stamp duty relief also appears to have received a positive response from first-time buyers, with many seeing it as a welcome boost,” Cooper added. “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.”

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