Issue 24Jan 2019

News Roundup

2019 presents greater opportunities for first-time buyers

There is good news for first-time buyers as it seems that the Help to Buy scheme is enabling many to get on to the property ladder. 

An estimated 367,038 first-time buyers took out mortgages last year, up from 362,800 in 2017, according to analysis from Yorkshire Building Society using UK Finance figures.tex

The number exceeded 2007 levels, when 359,000 first-time buyers secured mortgages, and is almost double the 193,300 taken out following the 2008 financial crisis.

Yorkshire Building Society strategic economist Nitesh Patel said: "Property prices have grown at a faster rate than wages over the past 12 years, which has created difficulties for first-time buyers.

"Various factors have helped to alleviate this challenging environment, although the market is still pretty tough for those wanting to become homeowners.

"However, the figures indicate that government initiatives such as stamp duty relief, Help to Buy equity loans and Help to Buy ISAs may have made an impact.

"Over the past three or four years, we've also seen more mortgage lenders offering 96 per cent loan-to-value mortgages, as well as strong competition driving mortgage rates down.

"This combination of factors has made buying a home more accessible in recent years. But getting onto the housing ladder is still not an easy step for many young people, as demonstrated by the increasing numbers who have received help from the bank of Mum and Dad.

"Despite these challenges, the first-time buyer market has bounced back following the financial crisis to outperform other sectors, such as the home moving and buy-to-let markets.

"Buying your first home remains tough for many by it's encouraging to see first-time buyer levels at a ten-year high and climbing."

There is a 'window of opportunity' for first time buyers in the New Year, as a direct result of the slow down of the property market, claims a property expert.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: "As we look ahead to 2019, there's a fog of uncertainty. Brexit is undoubtedly fuelling a sense of apprehension in the housing market, which in turn affects sentiment.

"With details of the final deal still unknown, both buyers and sellers will continue to hold off on making any decisions. However, this slowdown presents a window of opportunity for first-time buyers who will find more affordable properties, granting them greater bargaining power." 

Looking ahead to activity in the New Year in general, he added: "We usually see demand spike in the first few months of the year, but the landscape will probably be very different in 2019 as buyers sit on the fence and adopt a 'wait and see' strategy until the Brexit deal is complete."

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