Nationwide study highlights first-time buyers’ struggles amidst cost-of-living crisis

A Nationwide Building Society survey of over 1,000 potential homeowners indicates that nearly half believe the dream of homeownership is increasingly out of reach due to the cost-of-living crisis, with 20% anticipating the possibility of purchasing a home only in their forties, a marked rise from the current average age of 33 for first-time buyers.

The survey found that the majority of respondents have had to adjust their plans to purchase a home, with 84% citing the cost-of-living crisis as a significant factor. Almost half have postponed their plans because of affordability issues, and 60% expect a delay of up to three years.

Nationwide is advocating for government intervention, proposing an independent review of the first-time buyer market, consideration of stamp duty reform, and more flexible lending policies. Together with the Building Societies Association and other leading building societies, Nationwide is set to release a Housing White Paper outlining proposed solutions to the homeownership challenge.

Rachael Sinclair, Nationwide’s director of mortgages and financial wellbeing, said: “Getting that first home is as challenging as it ever has been. We need to solve the first-time buyer conundrum, which is why Nationwide has continually called for government to set up an independent review of the first-time buyer market.”

“It’s why we’ll also be jointly launching a Housing White Paper with the Building Societies Association next week, which will outline the essential policy changes that are needed to tackle the homeownership crisis and support people into their first home.”

Regarding savings for a deposit, more than a quarter of aspiring homeowners have been saving for three to five years, yet financial pressures have decreased the monthly amount they can set aside. The average savings for a deposit reported in the survey was £9,533, significantly less than the £22,400 typically needed for a 10% deposit.

Affordability remains a concern, with 80% worried about mortgage repayments amid rising mortgage rates and bills. Consequently, many are considering various buying arrangements and locations, with 70% willing to move up to 50 miles to secure their first property.