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First-time buyers dominate the market but downsizers are staying put - claim

The proportion of mortgaged homebuyers has hit its highest level for four years, research suggests.

Analysis based on conveyancing quote requests on the reallymoving website found that since last summer, the proportion of mortgaged buyers has crept steadily upwards, from 72% in July 2023 to reach 83% in March 2024.

First-time buyers have seen their share increase, accounting for 60% of all buyers in the market as of April 2024 compared with 54% in April 2023. Their share climbed steadily through the second half of last year to peak in December at 63%, falling back slightly since then but remaining significantly higher than the 5-year average of 54%, according to the research.


Reallymoving’s research shows that without the Bank of Mum and Dad, it now takes a  first-time buyer saving as a single person nearly 6.5 years (76 months) to raise the £25,554 typically needed for a 10% deposit and moving costs including conveyancing, surveying and removals. Those in London need to save for twice has long (8 years and 8 months).

Meanwhile. downsizer activity is declining as the cost of living crises eases, which may dash the hopes of second steppers looking to move up the property ladder.

Downsizers’ market share has decreased significantly from 35% in September 2023 to just 24% in March 2024 – the lowest for more than two years.

Overall, the cost of moving home is currently at £14,458 including Stamp Duty, estate agent fees, conveyancing, survey and removals, the comparison website said.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of reallymoving said: “The overall volume of buyers in the market is around 13% lower than the long-term average, as mortgage rate uncertainty has prompted many buyers to sit on their hands and wait. This has caused considerable pent-up demand, particularly with rates creeping back upwards again in the last few weeks, but the long-term trend remains downwards and once the base rate starts falling, we should see that pent-up demand released.

“It’s encouraging to see that first-time buyers are dominating activity, against the odds finding a way to get onto the housing ladder and begin their home ownership journey. Movement at the lower end of the market enables upsizers to move, which in turn will help boost downsizer activity by increasing the volume of properties available for them to buy.”

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    These figures don’t really mean much as first time buyers are often introduced by brokers, also more likely to use online sites. Whereas cash buyers are much more likely to have a local solicitor that they have used for years. Need more data.


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