The Halifax has released its First-Time Buyer (FTB) Review for 2021 that shows the number of first-time buyers rose to 409,370 in 2021, up 35% on 2020. This was despite the FTB average house prices rising by 3% to £264,140. The average buyer in 2021 was 32 years old and put down a £53,935 deposit on a first property.

Nationally the number of first-time buyers has more than doubled over the last 10 years in every region except London (+82%), with the South East rising by a huge 134% over the last decade. The UK residential property market overall has seen a huge increase in activity driven by a number of factors including the Stamp Duty holiday, low-interest rates and the desire for more a spacious living environment as working-from-home became the norm.

Many FTBs have also taken advantage of the various home buying incentive schemes designed to help people get on the property ladder. These include:

  • The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme which is available to existing homeowners as well as first-time buyers and is not restricted to new homes. It allows buyers in England to obtain a mortgage on homes worth up to £600,000 with only 5% of the property’s value to put down as a deposit.
  • Help to Buy Isa which is now closed to new applicants but those who already hold one have until November 2029 to use it. It is a tax-free savings account where for every £200 saved the government will add an extra £50. There is a maximum limit of £3,000 which is paid to your solicitor when you move
  • Help To Buy Equity Loan where the government lends up to 20% of the home’s value – or 40% in London – after the buyer puts down a 5% deposit. The loan can only be used to buy a new build property and loans will be capped at 1.5 times the average first-time buyer property price by region in England.
  • Lifetime ISA gives anyone aged 18 to 39 the chance to save tax-free and get a bonus of up to £32,000 towards their first home. You can save up to £4,000 a year and the government will add 25% on top.
  • Shared Ownership. Co-owning with a housing association means you can buy a part of the property and pay rent on the remaining amount. You can currently buy anything from 25% to 75% of the property but you’re restricted to specific ones.
  • First Homes Affordable Housing Plan, which is set to include 1500 new property units. These will be no different from other properties except they will be sold to first-time buyers with a discount of 30%.

THP Solicitors conveyancers specialise in all of these incentive schemes. For more information on Residential Property purchases or sales please contact Mary O’Leary (Lower Earley office) on 01189 209495 or Denise Stradling (Henley office) on 01491 570 908.