FTBs struggling to buy homes amid income cuts


Younger buyers have felt the effects of unemployment and reduced incomes particularly harshly during Covid-19, according to survey from Santander

First-time buyers (FTBs) are nearly half as likely to have had opportunities to save more money for a deposit during lockdown as home movers generally, a survey has found.

Less than one in five (17%) FTBs said the lockdowns had enabled them to save more money for a deposit, according to the report from Santander.

This compared with 31% of all buyer types, according to the survey of 2,000 UK adults who have bought a property since March 2020 or are planning to buy.

Younger buyers have felt the effects of unemployment and reduced incomes particularly harshly during Covid-19, while many also grapple with the cost of renting, Santander said.

The proportion of first-time buyers who said raising a deposit is the biggest barrier to home ownership increased from 30% in 2019 to 52% in 2021, the report found.

As house prices hit record highs in recent months, a third (33%) of first-time buyers said that finding an affordable property in their preferred area is a barrier to ownership. The figures were three times the 11% who said so in 2019.

The study also found that over two-fifths (44%) of first-time buyers delayed their plans to buy a home last year. More than one in 10 (13%) first-time buyers said they had delayed plans to move home while there was uncertainty on what their future remote working policy might be.

However, nearly two-thirds (63%) believe home ownership is more important now than before the pandemic.

Santander has joined the UK Government’s recently launched 5% deposit mortgage guarantee scheme.

More than half (59%) of UK adults said the Government should give first-time buyers more support to address a growing gap between them and existing home owners in the aftermath of the pandemic, Santander said.

Tracie Pearce, chief customer officer for homes at Santander, said: The impact of the pandemic on the housing market has been significant with many people reassessing what they want from their homes and making the most of a booming market and Government support with stamp duty.

Pearce said: However, many younger people looking to take their first step on the property ladder have seen their earnings and job prospects hit hard, impacting their dreams of home ownership.

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