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A fifth of first-time buyers have dependants, Santander says

  • 11/06/2024
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A fifth of first-time buyers have dependants, Santander says
Around 20% of first-time buyers had at least one dependant in 2023, a figure that has doubled since 2009, a major high street bank has found.

According to Santander, its customer data shows that the share of first-time buyers with dependants in 2009 came to 10% and has been gradually growing ever since.

The bank suggested that one factor in this change could be the increasing age of first-time buyers, with earlier research from the firm showing that one in five buyers are over the age of 40.

The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS’s) figures back this up, showing the average first-time buyer age in 2022 was 36 years old, a rise from 32 in 2004.

A spokesperson from the lender said that the dependants were a mixture of children or older dependants like relatives with care needs.

They added that customers with more dependants could have more limited affordability as their overall costs are higher due to childcare commitments, so it would look at this alongside their outgoings as part of an assessment.

Graham Sellar, head of business development for mortgages at Santander, said: “Buying your first home is one of life’s major milestones. With the average age of first-time buyers increasing in the past two decades, it seems more buyers are reaching other key moments, such as having children, before getting their foot on to the property ladder.

“We know that for families who are juggling finding a suitable property in an area with access to good local schools, against the costs of bringing up children such as childcare, saving for a dream home can prove challenging.”

The Building Societies Association (BSA) said earlier this year that becoming a first-time buyer was the most expensive it has been over at least 70 years, pointing to affordability challenges and regulatory restrictions.

It called for significant changes to be made to lending policy to help prospective first-time buyers get on to the property ladder.

In a poll earlier this year by Mortgage Solutions, more than a third of respondents called for better housing supply and improved affordability to help first-time buyers.

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