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Age of first-time buyers sees increase

Georgia Owen

10
Aug

TC house 300617

Recent research has indicated the age and average income of those taking their first steps on to the housing ladder is increasing.

Setting out the housing market statistics for 2015-16,  the English Housing Survey (EHS) also revealed that the demand for home-ownership from tenants remains strong.

Whilst first-time buyers are necessary to maintain the strength of the housing market, numerous factors have resulted in the demographic of those buying for the first time changing over recent years.

The EHS revealed that since 1995-96, the average age of a first-time buyer has changed very little, although the distribution of age has seen a change. Compared with the figures from a decade ago, the number of younger buyers (16-24) and those over the age of 55 has seen a fall.

The reasons for the depletion in younger buyers were found to be numerous. One of the most commonly cited reasons was the increase in the amount of time required to save for a deposit. This is due to the significant growth in property prices which the market has seen over recent years.

The rise in property prices has also meant that those with higher incomes are more likely to have purchased a home, with the results indicating a higher concentration of buyers on the property ladder who are earning more.

Whilst this is the case for first-time buyers, the private rental sector shows a different story; over half (59%) of those renting privately are anticipating climbing onto the property ladder at some point. This figure shows little chance of wavering, with the proportion having remained similar since 2006-07.

Of those who are not expecting to purchase, just under three-quarters (70%) referenced affordability as a barrier. 47% of respondents who were thinking about applying for a mortgage were being held back by the size of their deposit, stating that they felt it was too small.

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