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June, 2022
First time buyers account for 11% of transactions despite house price boom

Despite house prices climbing to record highs, rising borrowing costs, and surges in the cost of living, first-time buyers still account for one in 10 of all property transactions across England.

Research by Stipendium looked at the most recent data on stamp duty receipts for residential property transactions at £40,000 or above and what proportion of these were accounted for by first-time buyers and found that just over 1m transactions were recorded in the year 2020-21. 110,700 of these came from those buying their first home, meaning that first-time buyers accounted for 11.1% of total market activity.

By region

In terms of total transactions from first-time buyers, the South East ranks top, with 19,300 completing in the last year. However, this accounted for 10.7% of total market activity, the third-lowest level behind Yorkshire and the Humber (9.3%) and the North East (7.1%).

The West Midlands has proved to be the most first-time buyer-friendly market, with FTB transactions accounting for 13.5% of all market activity in a single year.

In the East of England, FTBs accounted for 12.3% of all property purchases, with the East Midlands (11.7%) and, perhaps surprisingly, London(11.2%) also ranking high.

By local authority

Barking and Dagenham rank top as the most FTB-friendly area of the property market. In a single year, FTBs accounted for a quarter of all transactions, with nearby Thurrock and Harlow not far behind where 24% of annual property purchases came via FTBs.

Peterborough, Stevenage and Sandwell also ranked high at 21%, as did Bristol, Oadby and Wigston, Knowsley and Luton (20%).

The worst place to be a first-time buyer? Kensington and Chelsea and the City of London. Not a single transaction came via first-time buyers in 2020/21, with Westminster (3%), Norfolk and Chichester (3.7%) also home to some of the lowest levels of FTB market activity.

Christina Melling, CEO of Stipendium, commented: “First-time buyers are facing the highest financial hurdle on record when it comes to getting that all-important first foot on the ladder and the cost of homeownership has climbed considerably in the last two years alone.

"Despite this fact, they’ve remained resolute in pursuing this life goal and have accounted for more than one in 10 transactions on an annual basis. Of course, the ability to buy does differ drastically from one area to the next and while first-time buyers have accounted for a quarter of all market activity in some areas, they remain completely priced out of the market in others.”