The Beagle Street Homebuyers’ Report 2017

A snapshot of the landscape for first time buyers in the UK

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A survey carried out by online Life Insurance provider Beagle Street to assess housing options for under 40s, exploring their current situation; their knowledge and understanding of the government schemes available to them and their attitudes towards saving and buying a property.

The research was commissioned to coincide with the launch of the Beagle Street Home Buyers’ Guide, a comprehensive online manual for prospective homebuyers with chapters on planning to buy, the application process, finding a house, the purchase process and moving in.

Who did we talk to?

2,000 UK 18-40 year olds who’ve never owned their own home. Research was carried out for Beagle Street by One Poll from 2-14 February 2017.

Where are they living now?

  • Renting from a private landlord (46%)
  • Living with family and paying rent (17%)
  • Renting from a local council or housing association (16%)
  • Living with family (15%)
  • Living in student accommodation (5%)
  • Other (2%)

Appetite to buy

An overwhelming 82% of 18-40 year olds surveyed said they would hope to one day buy a property.

Just 4% said they do not wish to ever buy a property, leaving 96% of 18-40 year olds we surveyed to be persuaded that renting is a viable and desirable option both in the short and long term.

What do 18-40s know about the Government’s support for homebuyers?

Our survey respondents were asked about their knowledge and understanding of the government’s schemes to support homebuyers, such as Help to Buy, Right to Buy, Shared Ownership and government-assisted savings options.

  • Only one in 25 (4%) of prospective homebuyers polled feel well-informed about the government’s schemes to help homebuyers.
  • Well over half (64%) either know nothing about the schemes or would require significantly more information to form a decent understanding of them.
  • Just one in 10 (11%) of respondents were able to identify the most recent changes made to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, including the axing of the Mortgage Guarantee scheme, at the Autumn Statement in November 2016 – and this rises to just 18% even among those who are actively in the process of buying a home.
  • 42% of respondents admitted they had only heard of Help to Buy in passing and described themselves as ‘very unfamiliar’ with the Mortgage Guarantee scheme.
  • Yet almost 1 in 5 (19%) prospective homebuyers said the closure of the Mortgage Guarantee scheme at the end of 2016 had made them less likely to buy a home.

And what do they think about it?

Of those who hope to get on the housing ladder:

  • 67% said the government’s policies seem to change so often it’s difficult to know what the latest government-assisted options are
  • 63% said information hasn’t been well publicised
  • 52% said there’s a lot of jargon and it’s difficult to understand
  • 51% said they had seen information on government home-buying schemes but automatically discount themselves from being able to afford a mortgage, so hadn’t read any details

The Lifetime ISA

This new savings scheme, to be launched in April 2017, will see the Government add 25p for every £1 saved up to a maximum of £4,000 a year – an offer made exclusively to first time buyers to contribute to a deposit and to those saving for retirement.

  • Over half (57%) of respondents to the survey said they were ‘very unfamiliar’ with the new Lifetime ISA – yet when introduced to it, they welcomed the scheme:
  • 40% of prospective home owners said they were more likely to buy a home as the result of the new scheme
  • Almost half (48%) of those who hope to buy said they were likely to take advantage of the Lifetime ISA

Savings

  • A healthy two thirds of respondents (64%) who hope to buy a house one day have a savings account or ISA
  • Encouragingly, of those, half (50%) typically pay into their savings every month, with a further 10% paying in weekly or fortnightly
  • Over a quarter of savers among potential homebuyers (28%) have saved over £5,000, rising to more than half (55%) of those in the process of buying a home
  • However, just 6% of savers we surveyed who aspire to get on the housing ladder have saved over £25,000 – a concern given that the average first time buyer deposit is £32,321*

Feeling positive?

  • More than 1 in 10 prospective homebuyers (11%) said they were feeling more positive than this time last year, rising to almost 1 in 3 (31%) of those in the process of buying a property.
  • Yet over 1 in 3 potential homeowners (34%) said there’s still more the government could do to help people get onto the housing ladder, and 14% feel buying a home of their own is still an unrealistic option for them.
  • A further 1 in 5 potential homeowners said they don’t fully understand how the latest changes to housing policy can benefit them (20%).

On Brexit

Over half (60%) of those polled reveal Brexit has had no impact on their plans to buy. Yet 1 in 6 (17%) of respondents said it’s put them off. Of those:

  • Almost half (44%) cited ‘general uncertainty’ as deterring them from making a major life decision
  • 28% blamed exchange rates.
  • 23% cited fluctuations in the economy.

7% of prospective homebuyers said Brexit has made them want to get on with stepping on to the housing ladder, rising to almost 1 in 3 (31%) of those currently engaged in the buying process. Of those

  • 45% said they’re keen to get on with a purchase before things change.
  • 41% said fluctuations in the economy have spurred them on.

Sources

  1. Sky News – First-time house buyers reach nine-year high – 13th January 2017

Additional resources

Originally released: 2nd March 2017
Updated to include Brexit section: 29th March 2017