Research reveals chromic shortage of first time buyers in UK housing market

Taylor Scott International News

The UK housing market is experiencing a potentially serious shortage of first time buyers, particular in the South East and North West, new research has found. First time buyer activity in the North East and Yorkshire and Humberside is less than half of what it was pre-recession while London is the least affected, according to the report from private mortgage insurer Genworth based on an analysis of government and industry data. The South East averaged 86,733 first time buyers a year from 1974, when records began, up until 2006. But since 2007 when the financial crash hit, this has fallen to just 47,863 a year. As a result, this has created a total shortfall of 310,967, the biggest of any English region. The North West has also seen first time buyer numbers drop from 46,461 a year between 1974 and2006 to 23,875 between 2007 and 2014. This has created a shortfall of 180,685 first-time buyers. The North East’s first time buyer market is less than half of its pre-recession size as the data analysis shows that the average number of first time buyers between 2007 and 2014 at 10,575 is just 46% of the pre-2007 average of 23,191, the lowest percentage of any region. In contrast, London is the least affected in relative terms and has lost just a quarter of its first time buyers in percentage terms. Its average of 39,175 between 2007 and 2014 is equal to 73% of the pre-recession average, despite the continued house price increases London has seen in recent years. The report says that comparing these shortfalls to the regional populations of 18 to 45 year olds who are traditionally first time buyers, suggests a significant percentage are potentially ‘denied home owners’ as a result of the fall in first time buyer numbers. For example, a shortfall of 100,927 first time buyers in the North East compared to an 18 to 45 population of 1.3 million means as many as 21% could be classed as ‘denied home owners’. In the South East a shortfall of 310,967 compared with an 18 to 45 population of 1.6 million means 19% are in the same position. ‘Tougher regulation and higher capital requirements for lenders as a result of the recession have accelerated the fall in homeownership and dramatically reduced the number of people, especially younger households, who are able to buy their first home,’ said Simon Crone, vice president for mortgage insurance Europe at Genworth. ‘A dual crisis has emerged with the shortage of new homes exacerbated by a shortage of loans traditionally used to help first time buyers get on the property ladder with 5% or 10% deposits. Our analysis shows that all regions have felt the impact of the squeeze on first time buyers, regardless of the so-called ‘North/South’ divide,’ he explained. ‘While London and the South East face the biggest pressure of high house prices, a lack of housing… Continue reading →

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