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First-time buyer numbers rose to nearly 410,000 in 2021

  • 24/01/2022
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First-time buyer numbers rose to nearly 410,000 in 2021
First-time buyers have increased by 35 per cent to 409,370 between 2020 and 2021 and accounted for just under half of home purchase loans.


According to analysis from Halifax, the number of first-time buyers has doubled since 2009, when the market size was pegged at 193,940.

First-time buyers accounted for 48 per cent of home purchase loans in 2021, down from 50 per cent in 2020, but up from 39 per cent in 2009.

The number of new home buyers increased in all regions, with largest change occurring in London where it rose by 49 per cent. Scotland reported the lowest growth in first-time buyers at 24 per cent.

The research continued that the number of first-time buyers had more than doubled in every region over the past decade, except London where it grew by 82 per cent.

It added that the average first-time buyer was aged 32 and put down a £53,935 deposit on a first property costing £264,140. This was a six per cent decline on 2020 when the average deposit was £57,278.

Deposit sizes in London and West Midlands grew by 11 per cent respectively between 2020 and 2021. This was followed by South East at nine per cent.

On average, the amount put down on a first-time buyer’s property accounted for 20 per cent of the purchase price in 2021 in the UK, with London, Scotland and South West all exceeding this with percentages over 20 per cent.

The report added that the average age of a first-time buyer has increased from 29 in 2011, and was over 30 in every UK region.

Esther Dijkstra, mortgage director at Halifax, said: “There were a number of factors influencing home buying decisions in 2021. While working from home and the ‘race for space’ was key for many, particularly movers, it’s clear that the stamp duty holiday increased the availability of first-rung homes as others moved up the ladder.”

She added: “Lifestyles have changed; over time more people have chosen to go on to higher education, go travelling, or move around for work, which are all factors in the increase in first-time buyer age. However, undoubtedly, the biggest drivers are the cost of homes and the need to save a significant deposit to get on the housing ladder.

“In 2021, the increase in average house price to £264,140, combined with difficulties in raising a deposit, meant that the gap between purchase price and deposit widened in every region in the UK.”

The report said the average price to earnings ratio for UK first-time buyers was now 6.9 in all but three local authorities where the gap between house prices and wages had fallen or stayed flat since 2011.

These were Clackmannashire, where it fell by five per cent, Moray, where it contracted one per cent and East Ayrshire where it was flat. All the regions were in Scotland.

The most affordable local authorities were Clackmannashire, West Dunbartonshire and East Ayrshire, where the average price to earnings ratio was between three and 3.2.

The least affordable areas were in London, with Brent’s price to earnings ratio set at 12.3, Camden at 12.2 and Haringey at 11.4.

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