London first-time buyers undeterred by Covid and rising house prices

London first-time buyers undeterred by Covid and rising house prices

First-time buyers in London were largely undeterred by the coronavirus pandemic and rocketing prices last year, the latest research found.

London’s first time buyer figured dipped six per cent in 2020 as the housing market was closed for months during the first national lockdown. 

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However the slump was the lowest in the capital compared to the rest of the UK – despite London having the highest house prices in the country. 

In total, the number of first-time buyers across the UK slipped 13 per cent, with Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland suffering the biggest drops of 23 per cent, 23 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

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Transactions bounced back strongly in the second half of the year, rising from 121,000 in the first six months of 2020 to 183,607 in the remainder of 2020. 

The number of first-time buyers in the second half of 2020 was down just two per cent compared to the previous year’s levels, according to research published this morning by Halifax.

However the number of first-time buyers as a proportion of all homes purchased with a mortgage remained stable across the UK at 50 per cent last year.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “Despite the obvious challenges presented by soaring house prices, not least the need to raise an even bigger deposit, first-time buyers still accounted for half of all home purchases, a reassuring statistic given their overall importance to the market.

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“However, with the economic impact of the pandemic likely to be felt most keenly by the young and those in lower-paid jobs, the need to prioritise improved housing availability and affordability for all those looking to make that first step onto the property ladder becomes ever greater.”

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