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First-timers were the top house buyers in 2022

Written by: Anna Sagar
Despite the number falling, first-timer buyers still made up the largest cohort of all home purchasers in 2022.

Across the whole of 2022, first-time buyers represented 53% of the market, according to Yorkshire Building Society (YBS). This is compared to 50% in 2021 and 41% in 2020.

The figures are based on UK Finance data to October, with November and December volumes estimated by YBS.

However, despite making up the majority of buyers, the building society found that the number of first-time buyers is estimated to have fallen by 9% year on year in 2022.

YBS said that in 2022, 370,287 first-time buyers stepped onto the property ladder, which is down from over 400,000 the year prior.

The latter was a 20-year high which was attributed to falling unemployment and low borrowing costs.

YBS noted that figures for 2020 and 2021 were “skewed” due to unusual market conditions from the pandemic, adding that the number of first-time buyer purchases in 2022 was 5% up compared to 2019.

The mutual continued that the figures should “signal strong demand” from first-time buyers, despite the average first-timer property price jumping 10% to £272,500 in the past year.

Demand still strong from first-time buyers

Nitesh Patel, strategic economist at YBS, said: “The year started much as 2021 had ended, with the supply of a significant number of low deposit mortgages, an overflow of healthy deposits from the build-up of household savings balances during the pandemic years and a steady economic picture.

“Then came the infamous mini Budget which sparked panic in the mortgage market, leading to low product availability, higher borrowing costs and a slowdown in house price growth among other things.”

He continued that this, along with absence of stamp duty holiday could mean the latest forecast was “unsurprising” in terms of a slight decrease in first-time buyers but it still showed strong demand.

Patel added that this uplift came in spite of house prices being at “historic highs for much of the year” and political and economic uncertainty.

He said: “The one constant in the housing market – the lack of supply at all stages of homeownership – will remain, which will help to maintain house prices. The continued uncertain landscape however, which may prevent would-be borrowers from making such a significant purchase or cause lenders to tighten affordability, could mean we’ll see a further fall in first-time buyers next year.”

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