Age of first-time buyers nearing 40

| September 11, 2012
Age of first-time buyers nearing 40

New research by Post Office Mortgages reveals that many first-time buyers are nearing the age of forty before they can afford to purchase a home.

Most will have to save for a decade in order to afford a deposit on a mortgage, the survey suggests.

Post Office Mortgages asked 1,300 homeowners how old they were when they bought their first home and asked 600 potential home owners how old they expected to be when they bought their first property.

The average age of first-time buyers has increased steadily since the 1960s when it was just 24 years, to reach 35 years in 2012.

High property prices and strict lending criteria mean that many young people are forced to rent or remain in their parental home until they are well into their thirties.

Worry over being able to afford mortgage repayments is a deterrent for some potential buyers, even though this can be less expensive than paying rent.

A third of recent first-time buyers in England were aged over 34 years, while potential first-time buyers in Scotland and the North East expect to reach 40 before they can step onto the property ladder, the survey found.

John Willcock, head of Post Office Mortgages, said: ‘The average age of a first time buyer has been creeping up over the past 50 years and a perceived ten year wait to raise a deposit doesn’t help matters.

‘The sheer size of the deposit is the most daunting thing for would-be first time buyers.’

According to the Government’s English Housing Survey 32.3 per cent of first-time buyers between 2008 and 2011 were aged 35 or over, with 6.5 per cent of this group in their late 40s and early 50s.

On a more positive note, according to the Royal Bank of Scotland Ability to Buy Index, the ability of first-time buyers to purchase a property improved by 15% over the past year.

First-time buyers in Scotland have to save for an just 30 months on average, to raise the money for a deposit, less than anywhere else in the UK.

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