Leeds Building Society reports 17,700 first-time buyers helped in 2023

Leeds Building Society has shared record-breaking results for the third consecutive year, while working toward its goal of putting home ownership within reach of more people.

In 2023, more than half of all of the society’s new mortgages went to first-time buyers, an increase from a third in 2022.

During this period, the lender also launched a number of products and partnerships, such as its Home Deposit Saver, and its collaboration with Experian Boost.

Annual net savings inflow increased to a record high of £2.7bn, while the society’s total savings balance reached a record of £20.8bn, 19% higher than 2022.

The society also recorded 122,000 new savings members and 35,000 new mortgage members during the year, which saw membership increase by 10% to a record high of 919,000.

Gross mortgage lending reached £4.4bn and net lending reached £1.5bn.

In addition, the society increased its market share in 2023 to 2.0% and its year-end mortgage asset balance stood at a record high of £21.8bn.

Richard Fearon, chief executive officer at Leeds Building Society, said: “As a building society established to help people save and buy their own home, I am incredibly proud of the progress we are making to deliver our purpose and of the support offered to first-time buyers in 2023.

“We concentrated our support on the needs of aspiring homeowners and helped nearly 18,000 first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder.

“We did this by launching innovative partnerships and products designed to help break down barriers which prevent home ownership, such as Experian Boost and Home Deposit Saver, and by continuing our market leading position in shared ownership mortgages.”

He continued: “We also stood shoulder to shoulder with members already on the property ladder during a year which saw the Bank of England interest rate reach a 15-year high, helping when it really matters with support tailored to their individual circumstances.

“We were one of the first to sign up to the Mortgage Charter and the first lender to launch a simple, digital application process for those seeking help; we limited increases in our standard variable rate, and we did not charge arrears fees – and will not again during 2024.

“We’ve been helping people get on, and stay on, the housing ladder for nearly 150 years, but home ownership has rarely been as unaffordable, inaccessible, and unavailable as it is today.

“We want to change that and our decision to stop new loans on holiday let homes in North Norfolk and North Yorkshire for a 12-month trial is another example of the society acting in the interests of first-time buyers.”

Fearon added: “In some areas holiday lets have grown to have a significant stranglehold on the pipeline of homes available for local people to live in.

“Our decision adds to the arsenal of options available to local authorities to balance local housing needs with economic benefits in a way which leaves power in the hands of the local authorities.

“We will learn through the trial how effective this measure can be in increasing the supply of residential homes and gain greater insight on steps that can make a positive difference.

“Our purpose guides us to help first-time buyers in innovative ways, however our mutuality and long-held position as a sustainable and financially secure Society provides the ability to do so.

“Our capital and reserves stand at £1.6bn and total assets increased to £28.1bn, an all-time high for the society.”

He concluded: “This performance underpins our financial strength and maintains our ability to invest for the future.

“Indeed, we continued to invest in our branches, which are one of our greatest strengths, and in improving digital experiences, which led to our highest member satisfaction score of 94%.

“We have laid the foundations for customer experiences and digital capabilities in years to come, allowing members to engage with us in a way they choose to; be that in branch, contact centre, digitally, or all three.

“Our achievements this year show the society at its best. Looking ahead, we remain confident in our ability to support savers and borrowers for generations to come.

“Yet the most important measure of our performance is how many people trust us to help them to achieve their home ownership ambitions. Our dedication to this – our purpose – continues unchanged because everyone deserves a place to call home.”