Home Residential PropertyFirst-Time Buyers London housing market sees sharp uplift in first-time buyer activity

London housing market sees sharp uplift in first-time buyer activity

26th Jun 24 3:25 pm

The latest research from London lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, has found that while London’s first-time buyers may be getting older, a twenty year high 181,000 FTBs secured their first foot on the housing ladder in a single year – marking a 24% annual increase.

Benham and Reeves analysed the latest Gov figures on first-time buyer market activity looking at how the number of first-time buyers has changed in what has become an increasingly difficult landscape for those without the existing financial foundation of housing market equity.

With the election looming, both parties have looked to win the vote of first-time buyers with housing market initiatives aimed at helping first-time buyers. The Conservatives have pledged to scrap stamp duty on purchases up to £425,000, while Labour will give FTBs first dibs on new development homes ahead of investors.

However, the analysis by Benham and Reeves suggests that London’s first-time buyers don’t need to be incentivised to get a foot on the ladder, with market activity having increased notably of late.

The average age of a first-time buyer in London is now 35.3 years old (2022-23), up from 33.8 years the previous year and 32 years old two decades ago (2003-04).

But despite London remaining the most expensive area of the UK property market, and with the addition of higher mortgage rates, 181,000 first-time buyers climbed the London property ladder in 2022-23.

This not only marked a notable 24% increase on the previous year, but was by far the highest level of FTB market activity seen across the capital in the last two decades.

As a result, London’s first-time buyers accounted for 21% of total FTB market activity seen throughout the year – the largest proportion seen since 2014-15 and fourth largest in the last 20 years.

In contrast, the number of first-time buyers outside of London fell by -1.8% on an annual basis, marking a second yearly drop, with the 693,000 who did get a foot on the ladder also being the lowest total since the pre-pandemic market in 2019-19.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, said, “It’s quite remarkable that despite London boasting the highest house prices in the land, and with the additional complications of higher mortgage rates, the level of first-time buyer activity seen of late has increased drastically.

“This has no doubt been helped by the fact that London property values have cooled, presenting a great opportunity for those looking to climb the ladder. But it also demonstrates the desirability of London amongst buyers and it is this desirability that makes it one of the most resilient property markets on a global scale.

“So while we may now see a great deal of political pandering to first-time buyers in the lead up to the election, the outcome is unlikely to influence the momentum that has been building across the London market when it comes to those making their first bricks and mortar purchase.”

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