More than two-fifths (44%) of first-time buyers believe the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will help them get on the property ladder sooner than expected, a survey has found.
Just a fifth (21%) said the crisis has resulted in them delaying their plans, according to Yorkshire Building Society.
Job losses and furloughing will have forced some aspiring buyers to shelve their plans.
The Society commissioned a survey in May of 2,000 people across the UK who are hoping to get on the property ladder within the next three years.
With fewer opportunities to spend during lockdowns, nearly half (48%) of those polled said they have been able to save more towards their first home – with an average increase of more than £500 a month.
Men who were able to save more typically put aside more than £640 a month, compared with women, who managed to put away nearly £360 extra per month.
Despite some people being in a position to turbo-boost their savings, nearly a third (31%) of would-be buyers said they expect to have been saving for up to two years before they can make a purchase, while just over a fifth (22%) said it could be nearer to 10 years of saving before they have enough money to buy their first home.
Several lenders have recently launched 5% deposit mortgages, some of which are part of a Government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme.
Ben Merritt, senior mortgage manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “Our research shows that for those who have benefited financially from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, it’s fuelled the ability to save more for a first home and brought the first step on the property ladder closer than people previously expected.
“The first-time buyer market is swiftly heading back to pre-Covid levels of mortgage choice and availability, and, with smaller deposit options having made a comeback, and new Government support on the table, first-time buyers could have good reason to be optimistic.
“However, with a fifth of first-time buyers having had their plans delayed by the pandemic, and the same saying they expect to have to save for up to a decade, it’s a stark reminder that the up-front costs of purchasing a house still prove too big a barrier to overcome for some.”
Seven in 10 (71%) people surveyed said getting the keys to their first home is essential to feeling as though they have succeeded in life, while three-fifths (61%) believe it is more important now than before the pandemic.
Mr Merritt said first-time buyers’ resolve “has only been strengthened by the pandemic”.