Back to July 2020

First time buyers return to housing market - as lockdown causes more to look beyond city centre living

First time buyer mortgage applications rebounded to near pre-lockdown levels in June, according to the latest industry data.

To better understand the impact of the pandemic on home buyer activity, Leeds Building Society looked at UK industry figures* which show the numbers looking to purchase their first home in June bounced back to 85% of the previous 2020 peak in early February.

Those looking to take their first step onto the housing ladder were also surveyed as part of Leeds Building Society’s Lockdown Learnings** a research series looking at how people’s needs and attitudes to their homes have changed since the start of lockdown.

Of those, 39% said their plans to buy their first home have not changed, while 38% said the coronavirus pandemic had actually motivated them to buy a property, with responders hoping house prices would fall to cheaper levels, making it easier for them to get onto the property ladder.

However, first time buyers are rethinking their wish lists. For 36% buying a property away from a major city centre and looking at new locations like the suburbs and countryside has become a bigger priority during lockdown. While, internet speeds (42%), outdoor space (53%), energy efficient homes (42%) and having an extra room/bedroom (36%) have all risen in importance.

Matt Bartle, Director of Products at Leeds Building Society, said: “It’s encouraging to see these figures showing first time buyer demand recovered so strongly as lockdown restrictions eased.

“The housing market is so far proving resilient, and while this is undoubtedly a challenging time, the Government’s stamp duty announcement is expected to have a positive impact in the months ahead.

“As a building society our aim is to help people save and have the home they want, and first time buyers will always remain an important part of the housing market.”


Notes to Editors

* Source: CACI’s Mortgage Application Reporting Service, volume

*A UK survey sought the views of 1,075 people at the end of June 2020

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Leeds Building Society won the title of Best Shared Ownership Mortgage Lender in the 2020 What Mortgage Awards, its fifth consecutive year of success in this category. It also was named Best Lender for Later Life Lending in the Legal & General Mortgage Club Awards 2019.

The Society operates throughout the UK and had assets of £20.8bn at 31 December 2019 (£19.4bn at 31 December 2018). The UK’s fifth-largest building society has its head office in the centre of Leeds, where it has been based since 1886.