According to calculations from Yorkshire Building Society, the number of first-time buyers who successfully took their first step onto the property ladder last year is estimated to have been the highest since 2007. Yorkshire Building Society say that strong competition has driven mortgage rates down to near-record lows in recent years, and this has proven to be a big help for first-time buyers.
There was a total of 353,436 first-time buyers across the UK throughout 2019, slightly up on the 353,130 that were recorded in 2018 and the highest annual amount since the 357,590 that were recorded back in 2007. However, there is still some way to go before those first-time buyer numbers reach the standout levels of 2006, when the total number of annual first-time buyers reached 400,870.
Yorkshire Building Society used industry-wide mortgage date from trade association UK Finance to calculate the total number of first-time buyers throughout 2018.
The figures show great progression with nearly twice as many first-time buyers securing a mortgage last year compared to the 191,040 that managed to do so at the start of the financial crisis in 2008. As things stand, first-time buyers account for just over half (51%) of all homes purchased with a mortgage, whereas back in 2008 this share stood at just 38%.
Nitesh Patel, strategic economist at the society, says that though the numbers were only marginally higher than the previous year, it’s still encouraging to see the total number of first-time buyers above 350,000 for the second consecutive year. Furthermore, the fact that first-time buyers account for over half of all homes purchased with a mortgage in the UK means that their market share is currently the highest since 1995, when they accounted for 53% of all mortgage-financed properties.
Patel says that the competition among lenders has seen mortgage rates drop to near-record lows, meaning borrowing has been a lot more accessible to buyers. Government schemes such as stamp duty relief, help to buy equity loans and popular help to buy ISAs will have also made a positive impact.
These combined factors have all made buying a home a lot more achievable in recent years, and this is reflected in the way the first-time buyer market has bounced back from the financial crisis and has in fact performed far better than many other property sectors, such as the home-moving and buy-to-let markets.
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