First-time Buyers

Who are the UK's first-time buyers and how much do they borrow?

Who are the UK's first-time buyers and how much do they borrow?
Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

It's hard to get onto the property ladder, but 874,000 first-time buyers managed it last year. But who are they?

House prices are high in relation to average incomes and, with a deposit of 5% or more required for most mortgages, it can be really difficult to save, especially if you are also paying rent.

Last year’s rising mortgage rates made it even harder for first-time buyers to get the numbers to stack up.

So how did 874,000 do it in 2023 (22,000 more than the year before)?

And what did they buy?

Uswitch has looked into the latest first-time buyer trends and pulled together a range of facts and figures about who is buying and what they are purchasing. It used its own data and survey results alongside a range of Government data and reports.

First-time buyer fact file

As of 2022-23, the average age for a first-time buyer in England was 34.

A third were aged over 35 – 20% aged 35-44, and 13% aged over 45.

In the same year, two in five (40%) first-time buyers were couples without dependents, with almost a third (32%) one-person households.

Decent deposit sizes

During 2022-23, the average deposit for first-time buyers in England was £53,414.

The vast majority of first-time buyers (87%) relied on their savings as the main source of their deposits.

But almost two-fifths (37%) of UK first-time buyers also received a gift or loan from a friend or family member, making this the second-most common source of first-time buyer deposits in 2022-23 (313,000). This is a large increase from the previous year, when just over a quarter (27)% purchased their home with a gifted deposit.

One in 10 (9%) first-time buyers relied on inheritance to fund their deposits in 2022-23.

Just under three in five (58%) first-time buyers in 2022-23 were in the top two income quintiles.

The vast majority (94%) of those who requested a mortgage quote for the first time in 2022-23 were employed on a full-time basis. Typically, they requested an average mortgage loan amount of £201,525.

Priced out

Lots of aspiring buyers are unable to get on the ladder.

Almost half (49%) of first-time buyers surveyed by Uswitch claimed that house prices would need to fall 11-20% before they’d consider buying a home.

A further 13% said prices would need to drop more than 20%.

As a result of high prices, two in five (40%) of non-homeowners in the UK do not plan on buying a property in the next five years.

Of these, 53% referred to affordability as their main reason for not buying a property.

Related: Higher rates make renting cheaper than buying with 5% deposit