First time buyers paying proportionately more for a home than others in the UK

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First time buyers ended up paying proportionately more than buyers already on the housing ladder for a home over the last year, new research has found.

Overall, the appetite of first time buyers to chase the market collapsed in 2018 in more than 100 major cities in the UK, according to the analysis by HPP home finance provider Gatehouse Bank.

The study used Land Registry data to analyse the percentage changes in the average price paid and found that the number of areas where first time buyers were willing to chase the market and pay proportionately more than home movers fell by 98.8% year on year, from 81 areas to just one.

The drop has been blamed on affordability and Brexit uncertainty, which are likely to have played a major role in first time buyers’ appetite to keep pace with the rest of the market.

The study says that the decision not to chase the market is also likely to be a factor in the continued slowdown in house price growth across the country.

House prices are still rising in the vast majority of areas but in the last 12 months the only place where first time buyers were paying proportionately more was Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

‘First time buyers are an interesting group because they are a bellwether for affordability and the wider housing market,’ said Charles Haresnape, chief executive officer of Gatehouse Bank.

‘In the round, they are acutely sensitive to whether they are getting good value because it can have a significant impact on how quickly they are able to lower their finance costs and move up the ladder in the future,’ he explained.

‘If first time buyers are chasing the market to a larger degree than home owners, it is a bullish sign for prices. When they do a volte-face like this, people should take notice because first time buyers are the new blood that keeps a market on its feet higher up the ladder,’ he added.

‘This trend could right itself over the next year, but only if wage growth continues to beat inflation and there is confidence in the economic outlook,’ he concluded.

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