Market Insight - December 2018 / January 2019
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First-time buyers on the up

First-time buyers on the up

First-time buyers are playing an increasingly important role in today’s housing market.

Despite affordability barriers, first-time buyers are playing an increasingly important role in today’s housing market. So far this year, 36% of homes in Great Britain have been bought by first-time buyers – the highest level in over a decade. In London they’re even more active, with first-time buyers purchasing nearly half (47%) of homes in the capital this year, and spending £440,800 on average.

More aspiring homeowners based in London are looking outside the capital to buy their first home. So far this year, 31% of London based first-time buyers ended up buying their home outside the capital, up from 16% in 2013. That means nearly one in three London based first-time buyers end up purchasing their first home outside London, but the proportion of those would-be first-time buyers leaving the capital has nearly doubled in the last five years.

Most first-time buyers fleeing the capital remain close by, to retain their links with London life. 53% of first-time buyers leaving London move to the East, with 30% moving to the South East. Areas such as Thurrock, Basildon and Luton top the list, where 37%, 24% and 18% (respectively) of homes purchased this year are by London based firsttime buyers. These areas have good transport links and tend to be cheaper than other locations in the South or West.

However, many are having to move even further afield to maximise their budgets. Some first-time buyers are making the decision to leapfrog the London suburbs as a place to buy their smaller first home, and instead move even further afield to purchase a future proofed larger home and avoid stamp duty costs on subsequent moves. Popular destinations further afield include Reigate and Banstead, Tonbridge, Milton Keynes and Southend-On-Sea

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