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Pandemic ‘offers silver lining’ for first-time buyers

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Two in five first-time buyers say they will be able to purchase a property sooner than expected because they have saved more during the pandemic.

Almost half of aspiring homeowners have been able to save more towards their first property during the Covid crisis, with the average squirreling away an extra £500 a month.

Only a fifth of people said the pandemic had delayed their buying plans, according to research by Yorkshire Building Society.

Despite having more savings, the average first-time buyer needs four years of savings to purchase a property. Almost a third (31 per cent) said they expect they will have been saving up to two years, but a fifth (22 per cent) said it could be nearer to ten years of saving before they have enough money to buy their first home.

Ben Merritt, senior mortgage manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “The first-time buyer market is swiftly heading back to pre-Covid levels of mortgage choice and availability, and with smaller deposit options having made a comeback, and new government support on the table, first-time buyers could have good reason to be optimistic.

“However with a fifth of first-time buyers having had their plans delayed by the pandemic, and the same saying they expect to have to save for up to a decade, it’s a stark reminder that the upfront costs of purchasing a house still prove too big a barrier to overcome for some.”

Buying a home is still top priority for many people with two-thirds (65 per cent) of people admitting that owning their own home would be life’s biggest achievement, above career aims (39 per cent), having or adopting children (33 per cent) or getting married (31 per cent).

Seven in ten (71 per cent) say getting the keys to a first house is essential to people feeling like they have succeeded in life, while three fifths (61 per cent) say it is more important now than before the pandemic.


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