Thursday, July 7, 2022

UK first time buyers delay purchasing due to pandemic


1 in 3 first time buyers are even waiting for the stamp duty holiday to end before they make a move, according to research from estate agency Yopa

First time buyers have delayed purchasing their properties by six months and three weeks as a direct result of the pandemic and are prepared to wait longer before they attempt to purchase a property, according to research by estate agency, Yopa.

Yopa commissioned Censuswide to carry out a survey of 2,000 people planning to buy their first property in the next year and found that 70% had been furloughed at some point, and 1 in 6 have lost their job as a result of the pandemic. Over half of those surveyed experienced a fall through in a property purchase during the past year. All of these factors have combined to delay the property plans of first-time buyers.

Mike Scott, Chief Analyst at Yopa, says: Delays in moving due to the recent situation are obviously going to exist. But the extent of the delay reported by potential first-time buyers suggests that there is still pent-up demand waiting for the restrictions to be eased further, for furloughs and job uncertainty to end, and for people to return to full-time work for full-time salaries.

The research found that 1 in 3 first time buyers are even waiting for the stamp duty holiday to end before they make a move. Evidently, they anticipate a fall in house prices. 22% of respondents said the stamp duty holiday has no bearing at all on their plans. Of course, the holiday doesn’t have much of an impact on them anyway as first-time buyers are already exempt on properties up to the value of £300,000.

However, Scott warns against waiting for the holiday to end before purchasing: At Yopa we do not expect an immediate national fall in prices once the stamp duty holiday ends. We believe that the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions – combined with people’s reassessed post-pandemic housing needs, the ‘accidental savings’ that many have made over the past year and the desire for a post-pandemic fresh start – will keep house prices high for at least for the rest of this year.

There may well be price decreases in some market sectors, such as inner-city flats, but these will be more than outweighed by price rises for property types that are in high demand for the post-pandemic lifestyle, he says.

The research highlights concerns about the size of deposits, a lack of mortgage products and extra criteria restrictions on available high LTV products still feature as the main obstacles for first-time buyers, but all should hopefully become less of an issue as more and more lenders sign up to the Government-backed high-LTV mortgage scheme – 1 in 5 first time buyers already plan on factoring this scheme into their purchasing plans, and 85% of first-time buyers plan on using some form of Government initiative to help them onto the property ladder.

Interestingly, only 13% of first-time buyers surveyed said that commuter links are now less important than they were before the pandemic. 3 in 4 said outside space and fast broadband was now of optimum importance, but it’s clear that these younger buyers still want convenient access to the office and city centres.


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