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Half of first-time buyers delay home purchase for a year

Written by: Owain Thomas
First-time buyers (FTBs) have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic with almost half forced to delay their plans, with the average interruption being nearly a year.

Finances have been adversely affected with half of first-timers saying they were worried about financial security and two in five noting it was now harder to buy, research from Aldermore found.

The bank surveyed 1,009 potential first-time buyers in August to reveal the impact of the pandemic.

Lockdown broke deals

Many already experienced failed attempts to buy due to the lockdown period, with 17% having a property sale fall through and 20% saying they pulled out of buying due to lockdown.

However, the stamp duty holiday appears to be useful, with 31% believing it will be a big help to them, rising to 47% of those looking to buy their first home in the next 12 months.

And a quarter said the stamp duty holiday had brought forward their home buying plans, in order to meet the 31 March 2021 deadline.

A further 21% said they will borrow money from friends and family to buy ahead of the deadline.

Changing demands

As a result of lockdown lifestyle changes, 39% of prospective first-time buyers were reconsidering their property type. Gardens or balconies or being near the countryside or parks were popular choices.

However, 38% said there are fewer properties on sale now which fit their preferences.

Aldermore head of mortgage distribution, Jon Cooper, noted it could often be a rollercoaster ride for first-time buyers but this was now even more significant.

“The wider economic recovery will be the real determining factor for how the first-time buyer market performs this year,” he said.

“First-time buyers need job security if they are to feel confident in taking the plunge in what is one of the biggest financial investments of their lives.

“It’s encouraging to see increased delays and challenges have not dampened prospective buyers’ home buying dreams; in fact they appear more motivated than ever after the lockdown experience,” he added.

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