First-time Buyers

First-time buyer numbers set for ‘new low’ in 2022

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

First-time buyers are considered the engine of the housing market but fewer are able to get onto the ladder

The number of new home buyers fell sharply in the first three quarters of 2022 and was below levels seen during the same period in 2019, an analysis has found.

New analysis from the Coventry Building Society found that between January and September last year, the number of homes sold to first-time buyers was 18,100 down, lower than in 2019.

In the first three quarters of 2022, 18% of residential purchases were by first-time buyers, 22% down on 2019.

Despite fewer house purchases being made by new homeowners, many were exempt from the first-time buyer relief on stamp duty as rising house prices brought them within the £250,000 threshold.

Some 39,500 first-time buyer purchases were liable to pay stamp duty, up from the 35,800 purchases during the same period last year.

Full data is not available for 2020 and 2021 as the stamp duty holiday meant purchases under the value of £500,000 were relieved from the tax.

The threshold was increased to £500,000 again in September’s mini Budget and this will apply until March 2025.

‘A concerning figure’

Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, said: “It’s concerning that not even one in five homes sold last year went to a first-time buyer. People getting that first foot onto the ladder is what keeps the whole market moving, nobody wants to see the numbers deteriorating.

“The fact that thousands of first-time buyers still had to pay some stamp duty on their home last year shows the temporary change to thresholds in September was needed. It took eight years for these changes to be made. These new thresholds should be linked to house price inflation to futureproof the support given to this vital part of the market.”