Third of aspiring first-time buyers ‘say finances improved during lockdown’

Nearly a third of people who plan to buy their first home within the next year say their finances have improved during the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey has found.

Some 32% of people hoping to get on the property ladder felt this way, according to the research from YouGov, perhaps because they have been able to save more money with fewer opportunities for discretionary spending.

However, with many people having had pay cuts, been furloughed or lost their job, nearly the same proportion (30%) of aspiring first-time buyers surveyed said Covid-19 had made their financial situation worse.

Only one in seven (14%) people surveyed generally across Britain said there had been a positive impact for them financially, while 34% said their finances had deteriorated as a result of coronavirus.

  • 32% say their finances have improved

  • 30% say their finances have become worse

Among existing homeowners, 18% reported their finances have improved during the pandemic, while just over a third (36%) said they have got worse.

People planning to sell a property within a year were particularly likely to say they had been negatively affected financially by the coronavirus crisis.

Nearly two-fifths (38%) said it has made their finances worse, while one in six (16%) have seen their financial situation improve.

More than 1,500 people across Britain who are planning to buy or sell a home in the next year were surveyed for the research.

The survey was carried out before Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a temporary stamp duty holiday on property sales in England and Northern Ireland.

Among all buyers planning to buy within a year, 17% have already applied for a mortgage.

But 44% of these buyers said the limited choice of mortgages currently available had made it harder to find a deal where they will be approved.

This percentage is higher among applicants who are first-time buyers (53%) who found their choice was more limited, while more than a third (36%) of those who are already on the property ladder and looked for a deal said they had also struggled.

Many banks have moved away from low deposit deals amid uncertainty over the economy and house prices, although the stamp duty holiday has prompted some lenders to start reintroducing more products aimed at first-time buyers.