There were 365,000 first time buyers who bought homes in 2017 according to newly released data from UK Finance. This is 7.7% more than in 2016 and the highest level since 2006.
Some of the boost in first time buyers can be attributed to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme; we calculate that around 9% of homes bought by first time buyers in England have used finance from the scheme. In addition to government incentives, low interest rates and weaker activity from investors has also assisted new buyers.
Building steadily over the last few years, the number buying homes for the first time was just 3% below the number of existing owners who moved during the year. Ten years ago, the number of first time buyers was 40% lower than home movers.
The stamp duty break could provide a further boost this year and it is possible that the number of first time buyers will exceed home movers for the first time.