First-time buyer statistics: Average age to buy a house in the UK

How many Brits are getting their foot on the property ladder and at what age are they buying their first house?

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Looking for your first home and getting your foot on the property ladder is a massive milestone in your life, but it doesn’t come without a few obstacles along the way. Along with saving up for a deposit and finding the perfect home, you also need to consider which mortgage lender is right for you.

Quick overview

  • The average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is 34 years old.
  • This is 6 years older than the average age of a first-time buyer in 2007, which was 28 years old.
  • The average deposit placed by a first-time buyer in 2019 was £46,200.
  • The average first-time buyer mortgage in 2019 was £185,300.
  • £231,500 was the average price of a home bought in the UK by a first-time buyer in 2019.
  • The average deposit for a first-time buyer in London (£110,000) is almost as much as the total mortgage for a buyer in the North of England (£112,000).
  • There were 356,000 first-time buyers in 2019, which was 163,000 more than in 2009.

The housing market vs coronavirus

Despite mortgage approvals being down in 2020 (418,000 approvals) so far compared with the same period in 2019 (520,000 approvals), monthly mortgage approvals in August were the highest since 2007. This is due to the buyers flooding into the market to make the most of the governments temporary zero stamp duty rate on transactions up to £500,000. This stamp duty holiday period started in July and finishes at the end of March 2021.

How old is the average first-time buyer?

The average age of a first-time buyer is 34, 6 years older than the average age of 28 in 2007 and 8 years older than the average age of 26 in 1997. This increase in the average age of first-time a buyer is likely due to the rise in the popularity of renting across all but the oldest age group. Those aged 25-34 have seen the biggest change, with 55% now renting, up from 35% in 1998.

There are several factors that could be contributing to declining rates of homeownership. This includes the increasing costs of entry-level properties and stricter mortgage lending rules following the 2008 recession.

34 years old

The average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is 34.

Average house price, mortgage and deposit for first-time buyers

The average price of a home bought by a first-time buyer in 2019 was over £231,500. In order to afford this, the average deposit was £46,200, or 20% of the house price, with an average mortgage of £185,268.

Average house price for a first-time buyer, 2009-2019

  • The most expensive region. Unsurprisingly, was the most expensive region is London, where the average house price was £453,385 in 2019. London has also seen the biggest change over time, with a £231,278 (104%) increase from 2009.
  • The cheapest region. On the other end of the spectrum, the cheapest region was the North, where the average house costs just £136,104 in 2019. Despite this, the North has seen a 38% price rise since 2009.
  • The biggest increases since 2009. Outside of London, the biggest rise in house prices was in the South East (73%), followed by the East Midlands (68%), East Anglia (64%) and the West Midlands (57%).
  • The biggest recent increases (since 2018). The biggest recent rise in house prices was in the Yorkshire and Humberside (9%), followed by the North West (9%) and the North (8%), the East Midlands (8%) and Scotland (8%).
Region 2009 2018 2019 2009-2019 % change 2009-2019 £ change 2018-2019 % change 2018-2019 £ change
UK £138,633 £213,203 £231,455 67% £92,823 9% £18,252
North £98,396 £126,187 £136,104 38% £37,708 8% £9,917
Yorkshire and Humberside £105,403 £143,100 £156,232 48% £50,829 9% £13,132
North West £108,538 £149,984 £163,459 51% £54,920 9% £13,475
East Midlands £108,570 £168,569 £181,876 68% £73,306 8% £13,307
West Midlands £117,914 £176,008 £185,091 57% £67,177 5% £9,083
East Anglia £134,707 £216,191 £220,719 64% £86,012 2% £4,528
Wales £104,500 £142,740 £153,267 47% £48,767 7% £10,526
South West £145,876 £211,117 £221,357 52% £75,482 5% £10,240
South East £170,686 £280,829 £295,348 73% £124,662 5% £14,518
Greater London £222,107 £425,622 £453,385 104% £231,279 7% £27,764
Northern Ireland £122,699 £127,599 £136,850 12% £14,151 7% £9,250
Scotland £111,042 £141,957 £152,728 38% £41,687 8% £10,771

Average deposit for a first-time buyer, 2009-2019

A house deposit is the amount of money that you initially pay towards your house, which is a percentage of the full cost of the property that you want to buy. A lender will give you a mortgage to pay for the rest of the property, which you will eventually need to pay back. You will usually need a deposit of at least 5% of the property’s value, but the average deposit in the UK is 20%.

  • The biggest deposit. A deposit for a house in London will cost the most, at an average of £109,885 in 2019. London has also seen the greatest increase in deposit price since 2009, with a £31,908 (41%) increase since 2009.
  • The smallest deposit. The North of England is the most affordable place for first-time buyers to put down a deposit for a house, costing just £24,091 in 2019. This is less than a quarter of the average London deposit and just over half the UK average.
  • The difference. This means that for first-time buyers, the average deposit in London (£110,000) is almost as much as the average total mortgage (£112,000) in the North of England.
  • The biggest deposit decrease. Northern Ireland is the second cheapest place to put down a deposit, costing just £25,317 on average in 2019. This is a massive £9,039 (26%) decrease since 2009.
Region 2009 2018 2019 2009-2019 % change 2018-2019 change 2018-2019 % change 2018-2019 change
UK £38,900 £43,155 £46,187 19% £7,287 7% £3,032
North £19,246 £21,263 £24,091 25% £4,845 13% £2,829
Yorkshire and Humberside £23,543 £24,709 £27,598 17% £4,055 12% £2,889
North West £24,931 £26,916 £29,472 18% £4,541 9% £2,556
East Midlands £26,374 £29,647 £32,917 25% £6,543 11% £3,270
West Midlands £30,200 £32,605 £34,178 13% £3,978 5% £1,573
East Anglia £39,125 £44,828 £43,188 10% £4,063 -4% -£1,640
Wales £20,675 £23,679 £25,704 24% £5,029 9% £2,025
South West £44,724 £41,247 £42,584 -5% -£2,139 3% £1,337
South East £51,354 £54,674 £54,425 6% £3,072 0% -£249
Greater London £77,977 £107,869 £109,885 41% £31,908 2% £2,016
Northern Ireland £34,356 £24,124 £25,317 -26% -£9,039 5% £1,194
Scotland £26,427 £27,071 £29,950 13% £3,523 11% £2,879

Number of first-time buyers

The total number of first-time buyers has remained consistent over the last three years, with around 350,000 first time buyers each year. 2019 predictions show that there has been a small amount of growth in the number of first-time buyers – 1% from 2018 to 2019. The biggest rise in the last 10 years was in 2013 when there was a 22% increase in first-time buyers.

In 2019, over half of the homes purchased with house purchase loans were purchased by first-time buyers. This is the first time that this has happened in the last 10 years, with the figure slowly increasing year-on-year since 2011.

Year Number of first-time buyers Annual change (%) Percentage of first-time buyer house purchase loans
2006 400,870 32% 35%
2007 357,590 -11% 36%
2008 191,040 -47% 38%
2009 193,940 2% 39%
2010 193,590 0% 37%
2011 187,990 -3% 38%
2012 211,920 13% 40%
2013 258,700 22% 44%
2014 300,370 16% 46%
2015 297,520 -1% 46%
2016 329,000 11% 48%
2017 345,920 5% 49%
2018 353,130 2% 50%
2019 356,767 1% 51%

Number of first-time buyers by region

The number of first-time buyers varies by region. The South East had the most first-time buyers in 2019, with over 68,000 people buying their first home. The region with the lowest amount of first-time buyers was Northern Ireland, where just over 11,000 people bought their first home in 2019.

The map below shows how many first-home buyers were in each region in 2019.

The number of first-time buyers has risen in every single region across the UK since 2009. The region that has experienced the most growth in the last 10 years is Northern Ireland, where there was a 151% increase from 2009 to 2019 – that’s 6,600 more first-time buyers. The biggest change by straight numbers was seen in the South East, where 28,000 more people bought their first home in 2019 than in 2009 (a 69% increase).

First-time buyers by region, 2009-2019

Region 2009 2014 2018 2019
North 7,920 12,730 16,310 16,229
Yorkshire and the Humber 14,720 23,660 29,520 30,456
East Midlands 13,710 21,410 27,480 27,737
East Anglia 7,730 10,950 12,550 12,563
Greater London 29,250 46,680 40,960 41,712
South East 40,410 61,480 68,670 68,485
South West 16,530 24,190 29,430 28,378
West Midlands 15,520 24,260 31,340 31,848
North West 18,200 29,010 37,960 38,675
Wales 7,410 11,880 15,930 16,106
Scotland 17,580 26,680 32,530 33,558
N. Ireland 4,380 7,170 10,430 11,013
UK* 193,940 300,370 353,130 356,767

First-time buyer mortgages

Over 350,000 Brits took out a mortgage to buy their first home in 2019, a 5% decrease from 2018. In December 2019, 29,490 first-time buyer mortgages were taken out, 0.3% more than in December 2018 (29,390). Take a look at the graphic below to see how many first-time buyers took out a mortgage each month of 2019.

Based on a total mortgage borrowing of £59.9 billion in 2019, the average individual mortgage size is, therefore, equivalent to £170,000. So far in 2020, the average mortgage size for first-time buyers is £170,301.

Month Number of new first-time buyer mortgages
December 2018 29,390
January 2019 24,430
February 2019 24,320
March 2019 28,210
April 2019 26,640
May 2019 29,620
June 2019 31,570
July 2019 31,240
August 2019 33,500
September 2019 29,070
October 2019 32,520
November 2019 30,840
December 2019 29,490

Sources

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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