One-third of home sales go to first-time buyers in 2024

In 2024, first-time buyers accounted for 33% of all home purchases in Great Britain, setting a new record. This marks a significant rise from 29% in 2023 and 17% in 2014. The South of England, particularly London, has seen a notable increase, with first-time buyers making up 50% of the capital’s home purchases, a jump from 41% in 2023.

Lower mortgage rates have been pivotal in enabling more first-time buyers to enter the market, especially in traditionally unaffordable areas. In London, the average amount spent by first-time buyers on their homes was £422,660, up by £19k from the previous year.

The report also indicates a trend towards smaller homes, with over half (51%) of first-time buyers opting for properties with one or two bedrooms, the highest proportion since 2011. This shift suggests a compromise by first-time buyers in the face of continued affordability challenges.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, said: “In a bid to escape the heated rental market, first-time buyers have dominated the sales market this year, making up a record third of all purchasers.

“This unprecedented move comes despite a limited package of government support measures. Instead, with high mortgage rates curtailing their ability to borrow, most are compromising on a smaller home to get a foot onto the housing ladder.”

Beveridge further commented on the broader implications of current market trends: “The market continues to be dominated by those who can afford to buy, rather than those who want to. And the pickup in first-time buyers this year is in part, making up for the lost moves in 2023.

“Longer-term, unless rates fall markedly, homeownership will be restricted to the most affluent households, reversing the decade-long increase in first-time buyer purchases.”