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Where are first time buyers?

First-time buyers are a vanishing breed, according to two new surveys.

According to one, nearly two-fifths (38%) of aspiring first-time buyers expect to be 40 or older when they buy their first home.

And a further one in 12 believe they will never buy their own home.

Research from property website Globrix, based on a poll of 671 aspiring and existing home owners, shows the situation for first-time buyers is worsening.

Its research showed that 74% of existing home owners bought their first property before they were 30. Today, only 13% of aspiring first-time buyers said they would be able to get their foot on the property ladder before reaching that age.

Aspiring first-time buyers are also relying heavily on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to help them get their first place: over a quarter (26%) expect their parents will be able to provide 20% or more of the deposit they need to buy their first home.

Globrix’s research also suggests that university debt may be acting as a further barrier to young people getting on to the property ladder.

Of those surveyed who had graduated since 2006, one in seven (14%) agree that their university debt will delay them getting on the property ladder and one in five (21%) agree that they would have been able to get on the property ladder earlier if they didn’t go to university.

Nearly one in four (24%) of those who haven’t been to university said that, for them, getting on the property ladder is more important than getting a degree and one in five (21%) say they are glad they didn’t go to university as the debt wouldn’t have been worth it.

Meanwhile, another website, Rightmove, said that at just 22.8%, the proportion of first-time buyers is now around half the level typical of a healthy housing market.

More than half said their biggest concern was getting a mortgage, with 44% saying their main concern was raising a deposit. A further 10% were worried about being able to meet monthly mortgage payments.

The findings were discussed at an emergency summit held by housing minister Grant Shapps to discuss the first-time buyer crisis. The meeting heard that there is no ‘magic bullet’ to solve the problem.

Rightmove questioned nearly 30,000 prospective home buyers last month. Of this number, less than one in four said they were planning to buy for the first time.

But the 22.8% proportion is a national average, boosted by the much higher number (at 38.6%) of prospective first-time buyers in London.

In Wales, the proportion falls to 18.4%, and in the south-west to 18.7%. In Scotland, the proportion of first-time buyers is just 19.9%, in East Anglia it is 19.6%, in the north 20.5% and in the south-east 21.6%.

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