More older buyers looking to buy first home

Legal & General reports a 13% rise in first-home searches among 56- to 65-year-olds

More older buyers looking to buy first home

New data from Legal & General Ignite has revealed notable trends among first-time homebuyers in the UK, including an uptick in older buyers and larger loan sizes.

In the first quarter of 2024, searches for first-time home purchases by individuals aged 56 to 65 increased by 13% compared to the same period last year, indicating a delayed entry into the housing market for many.

The broader picture for first-time buyers shows that 38% of potential UK buyers between April 2023 and April 2024 were purchasing their first home, with an average age of 33. The start of 2024 witnessed a 37% surge in searches by buyers aged 18 to 30 and a 33% rise among those aged 31 to 40, bouncing back from a usual slowdown in market activity around Christmas.

Further findings indicate that the average loan value searched by advisers for first-time buyers over the past year was £217,125. Between the first quarters of 2023 and 2024, this value saw a modest increase of 0.81%, rising from £220,358 to £222,148. From the end of 2023 to the start of 2024, this figure grew by 3.7%.

Most advisers searched for mortgage terms of 31 to 35 years (36%), followed by 26 to 30 years (24%) and 36 to 40 years (17%), suggesting a preference for longer terms to secure more affordable deals.

“Our figures show that the desire to own a home remains strong, even for those who are waiting longer to take those first steps onto the property ladder,” said Kevin Roberts (pictured), managing director at Legal & General Mortgage Services. “As affordability begins to ease, we’ll likely see further activity in the first-time buyer market, especially if inflation continues to fall and the Bank of England reduces its base rate later in the year.

“There are a number of factors likely to be impacting people’s decisions to buy a property. High rental prices may encourage some customers toward homeownership. Equally, as mortgage rates decreased at the start of the year, customers who had been waiting for the right time to buy may have found products which are more affordable.

“While affordability has eased somewhat, we know the Bank of Family has still been playing a key role in the housing market, either by gifted deposits or via practical support to help family members who are trying to save for their first home. However, if that housing ownership dream is going to be achieved, we’d still recommend buyers seek out a professional mortgage adviser to give them the best guidance on their options.”

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