WE SHOULD KEEP FIRST TIME BUYERS SWEET

14.02.17

It's clear that first time buyers have very much re-established themselves as a core part of the property market since the recovery started post the credit crunch. The Halifax data clearly shows that FTBs (rightly) decided to rent/stay at home rather than buy during the recession, saving them from potential negative equity issues. This was a sensible move, but statistically has artificially driven up the average age of a first time buyer which will hopefully fall back over the next few years.

Although we haven't fully recovered to pre-credit crunch sales volumes, FTBs are now a major driver of the property market, partly thanks to government initiatives such as Help to Buy, and this will hopefully improve further following the 'fall out' of buy to let investors. But the increased demand and not enough properties on the market means that property price inflation for first time buyers does appear to be slightly higher than other properties, when averaged out, around 6-7%. As with all property data, since the credit crunch we are seeing vast differences on a regional basis, so much so that 'national averages' for first time buyers are incredibly misleading to consumers and policy makers and should be ignored.

Excellent market analysis over the past few months shows that the fall in first time buyers is not just down to affordability. Despite affordability for first time buyers improving in the North East over the last 10 years, FTB numbers have fallen by levels not far off to London. The media too - needs to be careful in reporting on the subject. For example, certain news items of late, have suggested that despite affordability issues, the average first time buyer deposit has doubled. What this actually means is that people CAN put down 2x the deposit than they did in 2006 - it doesn't mean they 'have to'. This is thanks to families who are now third generation property owners who have the means to help provide increased deposits via the bank of mum and dad.

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