Children are much more likely to become homeowners if their parents already own a home. But is the bank of Mum and Dad running dry? New analysis from Hamptons using Skipton Building Society data reveals that other family members beyond parents are increasingly lending their financial support to first-time buyers.
So far this year siblings made up a record 11% of family members contributing to first-time buyer deposits, more than double the share recorded five years ago (5%) and surpassing grandparents’ contribution (8%) for the first time. They gave an average of £10,250 to their sibling which comes against a backdrop of high inflation and rising rents limiting a first-time buyer’s ability to save for a deposit. These siblings are highly likely to already be homeowners who want to help their younger brother or sister take their first step onto the property ladder.
Parents remain most likely to gift money towards a child’s deposit, making up 72% of those lending support so far this year. However, this share has gradually declined from a peak of 80% in 2018 as first-time buyers increasingly look to other family members for help. As homeownership rates decline through the generations, younger parents today are less likely to be homeowners than their predecessors, which reduces their ability to withdraw equity from their home to pass on to children. However, they remain the most generous, gifting an average of £15,250 so far in 2023.
After parents and siblings, grandparents were next likely to lend their support and made up 8% of family members putting money towards a deposit this year, slightly down from 9% in 2017 when Skipton’s records began. They gifted an average £10,000 so far this year.
Often, saving up for a deposit is the biggest hurdle to homeownership. These family contributions made up an average of 63% of a first-time buyer's total deposit, meaning that first-time buyers using the family bank are able to put down bigger deposits than those who have saved entirely themselves. Over a third (35%) of first-time buyers with family support were able to put down a +20% deposit on their home this year, nearly double the proportion (16%) of those who didn’t receive financial help from their families.
Support from the family bank is a boost to a first-time buyer’s purchasing power and means that they can often purchase a more expensive home. The average first-time buyer in Great Britain who had family help paid £257,290 for their home this year, £6,500 more than someone without additional contributions. It also allowed them to buy sooner. The average first-time buyer who had a deposit boost from a family member was 31.3 years of age compared to 32.5 years for someone who saved up themselves.
Higher interest rates have reversed the declining trend in family members gifting money for a deposit. Overall, nearly a third (32%) of all first-time buyers in Great Britain received a financial gift towards their deposit this year, slightly up from 30% in 2022. However, this figure remains lower than when Skipton’s records began, when 40% of those who bought their first home in 2017 were gifted money.
First-time buyers purchasing in Yorkshire & The Humber are most likely to have additional support. 40% of households who purchased their first home here this year received some form of family funding, up from 31% in 2022. These first-time buyers were gifted an average of £9,770, the second smallest contribution in Great Britain. Given that homes here are more affordable than average, family members are more likely to be able to contribute towards what’s likely to be a smaller deposit in cash terms. Meanwhile, 27% of first-time buyers in Scotland had family help, the lowest proportion in Great Britain.
In cash terms, first-time buyers in London received the biggest financial boost from family. On average, they were gifted £34,270 so far this year which is more than double the national average (£14,220).
Should interest rates stay higher for longer, it will likely exacerbate the gap between what those with and without family help can afford. Those without help will face saving up for longer and buying later in life or purchasing a smaller home in a more affordable area to keep their mortgage payments within their means.