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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

First time buyers numbers collapsing

First time buyers numbers collapsing

“Sharp Decline in First-Time Buyers: What’s Behind the Numbers?”


The dream of owning a home is a fundamental milestone for many, but recent data from the Halifax First-Time Buyer Review paints a rather bleak picture for aspiring homeowners in the UK. Between January and August this year, the number of first-time buyers plummeted by a staggering 22% compared to the same period last year. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of this decline, explore its regional disparities, and discuss the challenges facing first-time buyers in the current property market.

The Decline in First-Time Buyers

According to the Halifax First-Time Buyer Review, approximately 186,000 individuals are expected to purchase their first homes this year. This represents a significant drop of nearly a quarter when compared to the peak of the pandemic property market boom in 2021, when close to 270,000 first-time buyers successfully stepped onto the property ladder.

Regional Variations

The decline in demand among first-time buyers is not uniform across the UK. The South East, known for its high property prices, has witnessed the most significant decline in first-time buyer numbers. In contrast, Scotland, often recognized as the most affordable place in the UK for prospective homeowners, has experienced a less pronounced drop in first-time buyer figures.

Average Property Prices

One of the contributing factors to the decline in first-time buyers is the average price of a first home. According to Halifax, the current average price stands at £288,030, reflecting a 2% year-on-year decrease. However, despite this reduction, raising a sufficient deposit remains a considerable challenge for those attempting to enter the property market.

Challenges for First-Time Buyers

Kim Kinnaird, the director of mortgages at Halifax, acknowledges that raising a deposit continues to be a significant hurdle for first-time buyers. This hurdle is exacerbated by the fact that first-time buyers typically struggle to access the best mortgage rates, especially given the current high-interest rates.

The Role of Affordability

Chris Druce, a senior research analyst at Knight Frank, highlights that affordability is a major factor affecting activity in the UK residential market. With interest rates at a 15-year high, first-time buyers, who often face limitations in securing favorable mortgage rates, bear the brunt of this challenge.

Looking to the Future

While experts anticipate a decline of approximately 10% in average property prices over the coming year, the task of getting onto the property ladder will remain a significant challenge. In light of this, there is a growing call for fresh policies to support first-time buyers.

Druce suggests that existing measures, such as the doubling of the nil-rate stamp duty threshold for first-time buyers, though helpful, are time-limited. He also advocates for a replacement for the expired Help to Buy scheme, which was instrumental in supporting new build sales in England, as a potentially popular solution to alleviate the burden on first-time buyers.


The sharp decline in first-time buyers in the UK raises important questions about the state of the property market and the challenges faced by aspiring homeowners. With affordability issues, regional variations, and the ever-present obstacle of raising a deposit, it’s clear that addressing the needs of first-time buyers is crucial for a healthier and more accessible housing market. As we move forward, it will be interesting to see if policymakers and the industry respond with innovative solutions to support those striving to make their homeownership dreams a reality.

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