FTB affordability stretched to breaking point under pandemic property boom

Property Reporter
25th March 2022
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Analysis of first-time buyer house prices has found that due to the effects the pandemic has had on the market, those attempting to get their first foot on the ladder today are much worse off.

Research by Stipendium found that across Great Britain, the average first-time buyer paid £195,267 prior to the pandemic. Today this has climbed to £228,627, a 17% increase meaning they are now paying £33,000 more.

First-time buyers in Wales have seen the largest percentage increase at 22%, with those in the South West, North West and East Midlands also seeing some of the largest increases at 20%.

The South West is also home to the largest monetary increase, with first-time buyers now paying £43,291 more as a result of the pandemic, followed by the South East (£42,344), East of England (£37,016), East Midlands (£31,997) and Wales (£31,907).

London has seen the smallest increase in the average price paid by a first-time buyer at 8%. However, this increase does amount to £31,759, making it the sixth-largest monetary increase.

At the local authority level, North Devon has seen the largest percentage increase in the price paid by a first-time buyer at 33%, with Ryedale (30%) and South Hams (29%) also amongst the largest uplifts.

In Kensington and Chelsea, first-time buyers have seen the largest monetary increase, now paying £118,559 more compared to pre-pandemic market values.

Christina Melling, CEO of Stipendium, commented: “The pandemic property market boom has been widely regarded as a positive to be taken from an otherwise tough period and in some cases, this is certainly true.

"However, the introduction of yet another demand focussed government initiative in the form of the stamp duty holiday has only caused greater imbalance within the market, pushing the affordability of homeownership even further out of grasp for the nation’s first-time buyers.

"While pre-pandemic life may seem a long time ago, the financial commitment for the average first-time buyer is now £30,000 higher than it was just two years ago.

"Unfortunately, until the government addresses the current housing crisis by actually building more homes, we can expect to see more of the same over the coming years. All we can do in the meantime is educate those looking to buy their first home on how they can save money during the overall process and what to expect when looking to buy.”

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