The rising cost of living, higher interest rates, and mortgage market volatility have done little to dent the enthusiasm of first-time buyers, research has found. A biannual study, of 1,000 aspiring homeowners in the UK, has found 40 percent are optimistic about becoming a homeowner – similar to the 42 percent who felt optimistic last year.
And while 41 percent feel their homebuying plans have gone backward in the last six months, this is significantly less than the 68 percent who felt this way half a year ago.
Hopeful home-buyers have been buoyed by predictions of falling house prices (21 percent), the introduction of 100 percent mortgages (21 percent), and rising interest rates boosting their deposit funds (20 percent).
Nearly a quarter (24 percent) have managed to save more towards their deposit than anticipated, while 22 percent have seen their household income increase in recent months.
And 20 percent are feeling positive about their path towards ownership, as they believe the cost-of-living crisis is slowing down.
Among those actively saving towards the deposit for their first home, they are setting aside £344 a month on average, and 24 percent hope to buy within 12 months – down from 35 percent six months ago.
On average, hopeful buyers anticipate it will take another three years to get their foot on the ladder, having started saving three years ago.
Cecilia Mourain, managing director of Moneybox Homebuying which commissioned the research, said: “The property market is ever-changing, but we know the volatility of the last six months to a year has been unsettling for many.
“Yet despite this, the desire to own a home has increased significantly, and pragmatic first-time buyers remain remarkably resilient, adapting to the changing market conditions and remaining optimistic as they work towards their goal.
“When it comes to buying your first home, more often than not, the right time to buy is when you are ready.
“Seeking advice from home-buying experts will help you dial down the noise, and thoroughly prepare for your home-buying journey, with greater confidence.”
The study revealed that owning a home is more important than ever for 81 percent – up from just 63 percent in 2022.
This is primarily motivated by wanting to feel more financially secure (56 percent), to be more independent (55 percent), and to have control over their own home, rather than a landlord (53 percent).
But of course, it’s not all been plain sailing for first-time buyers in recent months – as 37 percent report that they are feeling pessimistic about their chances of getting a foot on the property ladder.
Nearly six in ten (58 percent) found the cost-of-living crisis is impacting their disposable income, making it more difficult to save a deposit.
And 30 percent have had to reduce the amount they are saving towards their first home deposit in the last six months.
Meanwhile, almost half (46 percent) are concerned rising interest rates have been making mortgages less affordable, according to the research, conducted via OnePoll.
In response to these market conditions, 61 percent of aspiring first-time buyers have taken some pragmatic steps to adjust their home-buying plans this year.
These include planning to buy later than originally hoped (55 percent), building a larger deposit (34 percent), and making compromises on property location (32 percent) or features (30 percent).
In fact, one in five (21 percent) would consider a zero-deposit mortgage, and 15 percent are open to a longer-term mortgage.
Cecilia Mourain, from Moneybox Homebuying, added: “Buying a home is such an important life goal for so many – it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the best options for your needs, and the implications of changing market conditions.
“And so, it’s no surprise that in the last year, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of first-time buyers, coming to us for home-buying and mortgage advice – in many cases, long before they are ready to make a mortgage application.”