The return of the first-time buyer

The return of the first-time buyer

Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2021

For those of you who keep an eye on the property market, you will be aware that the appetite for flats and apartments has been somewhat subdued for 18 months, but there has been a pronounced shift in demand over the past ten weeks which has totally changed the landscape for sellers and buyers.

The reason for the lack of sales activity over the past year and a half has simply been down to the lack of demand from those looking to purchase their first home and take the leap of faith on to the property ladder.  It wasn’t through lack of desire or an abundance of caution but actually a direct impact of COVID-19.  A significant number of would-be-purchasers were in roles which saw them furloughed which had two effects; firstly, it took mortgage lenders some time to establish their lending criteria for those who had been furloughed, with the overwhelming majority adopting an extremely cautious approach in the early months. Secondly, uncertainty surrounding job security was an understandable deterrent in the midst of the pandemic. Couple these factors with not knowing whether one would be required to work from home or whether they needed to travel to the office at all and we experienced almost total inertia in this part of the market.

Fast forward 15 months with furlough behind us, and most people have a much better understanding of where they are working, how often they need to commute and how secure their current role is.  Mortgage lenders have clearly defined lending structures which take into account periods spent on furlough and rates are still extremely attractive for those looking to purchase their first home.  The difference in activity is seismic with sellers who have patiently waited for demand to return now agreeing offers and being able to look for their next property. 

Its not all rosy for the first time buyers though as they have competition in the form of investors who are also returning to the market in force.  Low interest rates, high yields and huge demand from tenants continue to make property a sound investment.