Average UK buyer likely to be aged 36 when they buy first property

The average age of a UK first time buyer is 36 years old but there is variations between regions with the oldest buyers at aged 41 in the south west, new research shows.

The research from MoneySuperMarket also shows that those north of the border in Scotland are the most optimistic, claiming they will be 33 on average before they buy their first property, along with Londoners who also think they will be 36.

However, some have written off home ownership altogether. Over a third, 37%, don’t intend to buy their own home. This rises to 53% of people in Scotland, but drops to a low of 19% among Londoners, even though property prices in the capital are higher than anywhere else in the country.

‘The resurgent housing market is making life harder for aspiring home owners on the one hand, but on the other, one of the reasons why prices are rising again is because there are more mortgages available for first time buyers now than a year ago, making it easier for them to raise the funds they need,’ said Clare Francis, editor in chief of the comparison site.

‘This has, in part, been helped by the launch of the mortgage guarantee element of the Help to Buy mortgage scheme which is enabling first time buyers to get on the property ladder sooner because they don’t have to save such a large deposit,’ she explained.

The MoneySuperMarket analysis also reveals rates on first time buyer mortgages are significantly lower than they were before the credit crunch, with HSBC taking the top spot with a two year fixed rate mortgage at 2.89% rate product for buyers with a 10% deposit. First time buyers who are lucky enough to have a large deposit can take advantage of even lower rates, HSBC again being the market leader with a two year fixed rate at 1.49% for those with a 40% deposit.

Those looking to take advantage of the government’s Help to Buy scheme will see slightly higher rates with Santander being the current best buy offering a rate of 4.74% with its two year tracker deal.

The research also exposes the lengths people are willing to go to just to get on to the housing ladder with 39% of home owners who have bought their property in the last 10 years having had to make a key sacrifice.

Some 18% were unable to do their home up at the time of moving in due to lack of cash, and 19% are currently still unable to pay for any renovation work, despite having bought their property up to 10 years ago.

Furthermore, one in 10 people could not afford to make necessary repairs to their newly bought home, and the same amount of people still cannot spend money on essential repairs.

The findings come as mortgage applicants face tougher questions about their lifestyle and spending, under new rules introduced as part of the Mortgage Market Review.

‘How ownership is still really important to many people here in the UK, and these stats show that they are prepared to seriously push themselves financially and make sacrifices in order to buy their first home. However, there is a balance to strike and it is important that people don’t stretch themselves too far,’ said Francis.

‘Recent changes to mortgage rules should help protect first time buyers from this because lenders are now scrutinising the spending habits of applicants more closely than ever before. This should prevent people from buying a property they can’t really afford. While home ownership can be hugely satisfying, it can also become a burden if you’re over stretched and unable to enjoy your first home,’ she added.