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Half of FTBs delay buying a home due to COVID-19

The pandemic has caused nearly half (46%) of first-time buyers to delay their plans of purchasing a home by an average time of nearly a year, according to the latest research by Aldermore.

Aldermore’s First Time Buyer Index, which compiled a survey of 1,000 prospective first-time buyers, reveals that one in six (17%) have had a property sale fall through whilst one in five (20%) have said they pulled out of buying due to lockdown.

The pandemic has also caused 49% of first-time buyers to worry about their financial security. 

Two fifths (39%) of prospective first-time buyers are now reconsidering their property type due to lockdown, with four in 10 (42%) saying that having a garden or balcony is a top priority and a third (33%) now looking for properties near the countryside or parks.

However, two in five (38%) say there are fewer properties on sale now which fit their preferences.

Nearly a third (31%) of first-time buyers believe the stamp duty holiday, introduced in July, will be a big help to them which rises to half (47%) of those looking to buy their first home in the next 12 months.

A quarter (24%) say the stamp duty holiday has brought forward their home buying plans, in order to meet the 31 March 2021 deadline. A further fifth (21%) say they will borrow money from friends and family to buy ahead of the deadline.

Prospective first-time buyers have not had their home buying dreams dampened however according to the research, with two in five (42%) saying they are more motivated to buy now than they were before lockdown.

However, the same proportion (42%) felt lockdown had made the journey more stressful.

Jon Cooper, head of mortgage distribution at Aldermore, said: “First-time buyers experience strong financial and emotional challenges at the best of times as they go through the home buying journey, but it appears now this has been heightened by COVID-19.

“The wider economic recovery will be the real determining factor for how the first time buyer market performs this year. First time buyers need job security if they are to feel confident in taking the plunge in what is one of the biggest financial investments of their lives.

“It’s encouraging to see increased delays and challenges have not dampened prospective buyers home buying dreams, in fact they appear more motivated than ever after the lockdown experience. It’s important as conditions continue to change that new buyers seek expert advice from brokers who will be able to outline options and help ease the confusion of the process that many feel.

“Stamp duty relief also appears to have received a positive response from first time buyers, with many seeing it as a welcome boost. The initial costs of getting on the ladder can be a real barrier to many, so anything that helps reduce that entry fee for some is welcome for the housing market.”