Lockdown sparks rise in first-time buyers saving own deposits

“With lockdown hindering consumer spending, those saving to buy their first property have managed to put more aside and we are seeing a lot of first-time buyers funding their deposits independently.”

Nearly half of today’s first-time buyers have used their lockdown savings to fund their own deposit – compared to just under a third in 2016, according to new research from Purplebricks.

Their survey found that 43% of current first-time buyers have managed to raise the full deposit for a property on their own without help from anyone else, up from 29% in 2016, although the Bank of Mum and Dad will still help 31% to get on the property ladder.

Although property prices have increased rapidly in the past five years, first-time buyers are actually arranging to put down smaller deposits than their counterparts five years ago – with down payments dropping from £32,954 in 2016 to £27,521 today.

This could partly be due to the recent announcement of the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, which allows first-time buyers to get on the property ladder with just a 5% deposit.

The research has also pointed out significant changes in first-time buyer priorities, with 68% saying they would consider living in a rural area now that working from home is an option, compared with 57% five years ago.

As more of us work from home, good Wi-Fi is now more highly valued than before. A property with strong Wi-Fi is now important to 41% of first-time buyers compared to 33% in 2016 – making it a bigger priority than proximity to good schools, pubs and cafes. Good transport links are still considered important with almost half (48%) of today’s first-time buyers considering this a top priority, an increase from 41% in 2016.

New build homes are now favoured by one third of first-time buyers today, an increase from 2016 when they were sought by a quarter of first time house hunters.

Susan Gregory, divisional sales director at Purplebricks, commented: “With lockdown limiting consumer spending, those saving to buy their first property have been able to put more aside and we are seeing many first-time buyers funding their deposits independently. It is really encouraging to observe this growing trend for first-time buyers to finance their first property purchases under their own steam.

“There has been a big shift in buyer behaviour over the past 12 months. The trend towards agile working has enabled many potential buyers the freedom to look further afield, and consider properties in more rural areas as they are not as constrained by their commute. Areas that were not on the radar of first-time buyers before are now looking more attractive, leading to much more mobility within the UK housing market as a whole.”