First Time Buyer Sales Grow 27% In A Year
- 146,000 first-time buyers between January and June – over 30,000 more than in than H1 2013
- Strongest opening half of the year since 2007
- 26,500 first-time buyer sales in June – topping 26,000 for second consecutive month
- Average first-time buyer deposit a fifth lower than a year ago
The first half of 2014 saw 30,000 more first-time buyers get on the housing ladder than in H1 2013, according to the latest First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer from Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services.
In total, there were 146,600 first-time buyer transactions between January and June this year, up 27% from 115,700 in the same period last year. It was the strongest opening six months in seven years. The last time the opening half of a year saw more first-time buyer sales was in 2007 (181,500 transactions), before the financial crisis began to bite.
On a monthly basis, there were 26,500 first-time buyer sales in June, 10% more than twelve months ago. It was the second consecutive month in which the number of transactions topped 26,000.
The average first-time buyer deposit was £24,530 in June, falling 18% from £29,845 over the last twelve months. First-time buyer deposits have averaged less than £25,000 for five consecutive months.
At the same time, first-time buyer purchase prices have stayed fairly stable. The average first-time buyer mortgage has risen 2.9% over the last year to £119,743, while prices have stayed flat but deposits have fallen. The market is indicating signs at first-time buyer level of remaining stable and prices not spiralling out of control.
David Newnes, director of estate agent Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services group, said: “The bottom of the market continues to recover, even as activity further up the price bands is beginning to show signs of slowing down. Lenders have been more willing to lend to higher loan-to-value borrowers. Help to Buy has boosted confidence and with it demand among first-timers who have been carefully saving up for their deposit.
“But the new loan-to-income caps could have a stifling effect on the first-time buyer market. They have understandably been designed to prevent too much ‘risky’ lending to borrowers with smaller deposits, but they need careful interpretation to ensure they do not cut good buyers - with realistic and very affordable borrowing expectations - out of the market. MMR regulations already stress test borrowers’ ability to withstand a base rate rise. The further regulation could sap the energy at the bottom of the market.”
Read the full First Time Buyer Opinion Barometer - July 2014 here