ResidentialOct 9 2020

Buying a home ‘more important’ to FTBs than before Covid

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Buying a home ‘more important’ to FTBs than before Covid
Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Buying a home is more important to first-time buyers now than it was at the start of the pandemic in March, according to the Yorkshire Building Society (YBS).

An August survey by the lender found three in five respondents (61 per cent) said it was more important, as 44 per cent said they have been able to save more for a deposit during lockdown.

The research also found that more than a third of prospective first-time buyers (35 per cent) expected to buy their home sooner due to the pandemic.

Additionally, half of first-time buyers said they were looking for financial help from relatives, with the number seeking support rising to 59 per cent for those buying in London.

Ben Merritt, mortgages acquisition manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Getting on the housing ladder seems to be more important now than it ever was.

"Whether it’s being in shared rented accommodation whilst juggling home and work life, or spending lockdown back in the family home, the pandemic has clearly increased the resolve of first-time buyers who have increased their savings and are more determined than ever to buy their first home.

“It’s a real priority and life ambition for many people, but getting there still remains a challenge which is why we are seeing many lean on relatives for support with deposits.

“Despite the lower availability of higher LTV products, there are options available to first-time buyers and so it pays to do your research to help you get the support you need.”

The building society said it was offering 90 per cent LTV mortgages “when capacity has allowed”, advancing more than 4,000 mortgages in this market since lockdown began in March.

Carl Shave, director at Just Mortgage Brokers, commented: “The recent report from the Yorkshire Building Society gives very encouraging news for the industry.

"First-time buyers lay the foundations to a successful housing market and mortgage industry, and the statistics just compound the fact that there are a growing number of would-be first-time buyers out there.”

Mr Shave added it was “in turn the industry's duty” to find constructive ways to help first-time buyers.

He continued: “This is a collective responsibility where lenders need to pay attention to the demand offering mortgages above 85 per cent LTV, and also brokers to play their part educating first-time buyers of all the possible options available to them even if this means at this time thinking a little more outside the box.”

Lenders have been coming in and out of the high LTV market, with limited launches and product withdrawals after high demand.

Last month Moneyfacts warned that home ownership aspirations were “further out of reach” for many as the number of high LTV mortgage deals available had dramatically declined year-on-year.

In a party conference speech this week Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Conservatives would help turn “generation rent” into “generation buy”, with a policy on long-term fixed-rate mortgages of up to 95 per cent of a property’s value.

But the industry has expressed reservations at the Prime Minister's plans to encourage more long-term fixed-rate mortgages for buyers with 5 per cent deposits.

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