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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?
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.
- 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.
- 6.2 million Brits (12%) said moved back in with their parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- When you factor in parents who said their adult children have moved home with them, this figure rises to as much as 20% (10.5 million)
- Two thirds (68%) of those who moved home said they expected to stay put for the foreseeable future.
- Of those who moved home, around 1.1 million Brits (18%) said they are paying rent on accommodation that they were not using. Over the first 3 months of lockdown, this cost an average of £2,658 per person and £2.9 billion across the UK.
- A third (33%) of the UK list outdoor space and its size as the most important factor when buying a house.
- 8% of the UK say they will not buy a property or another one.
- When it comes to those buying a home, over a third (34%) said that they will do so with a partner.
The housing market vs coronavirus
Despite mortgage approvals being down in 2020 so far (418,000 approvals) compared with the same period in 2019 (520,000 approvals), monthly mortgage approvals in August were the highest since 2007. This was due to buyers flooding into the market to make the most of the government’s temporary zero stamp duty rate on transactions up to £500,000. This stamp duty holiday period started in July 2020 and finishes at the end of June 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.
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|
|Yorkshire and Humberside||£105,403||£143,100||£156,232||48%||£50,829||9%||£13,132|
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|
|Yorkshire and Humberside||£23,543||£24,709||£27,598||17%||£4,055||12%||£2,889|
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|
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
|Yorkshire and the Humber||14,720||23,660||29,520||30,456|
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|
What do homebuyers look for?
When comparing important features of buying a new home, it was found that quality and quantity of outdoor space took the top spot. Our research showed that 33% of the UK nominated this as the most desirable feature considered. A surprising find was that only 17% of those surveyed considered being close to their family/friends as the most essential factor to evaluate when buying a new home.
|If it has outside space/size||33.20%|
|The size of the house||28.05%|
|It has space for parking||24.15%|
|The property having a nice surrounding area||21.70%|
|Good transport links||21.20%|
|Being closer to family/friends||17.05%|
|Being close to amenities - bars, shops||16.20%|
|That the area has a low crime rate||14.45%|
|The cost of running/maintaining the property||14.35%|
|How the house looks||11.90%|
What’s the least important factor when buying a home?
When asked to rank their most to least important features of buying a new house, on average, “the success of the local housing market” was rated least important as only 2% of those surveyed considered this to be a top priority.
At the top of those, as shown in the figure below, was being close to good schools with 9% of people placing this as their least important factor. Therefore, those looking to buy place their gardens above the level of school education their child would receive!
|Being close to good schools||9.30%|
|That the property is newly refurbished||8.15%|
|Being close to work||7.45%|
|That the property has an office||5.05%|
|If the property has eco-friendly modifications||4.85%|
|That the property needs renovating||4.25%|
|Being closer to childcare||3.50%|
|Cost of home insurance||2.40%|
|The success of the local housing market||1.60%|
- UK Finance
- Office for National Statistics (ONS)
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