An increase in first-time buyers who braved the current economic climate in 2021, saw an estimated 408,379 mortgaged purchases, which accounted for over 50% of all mortgaged purchases according to Yorkshire Building Society (YBS).

This is the first-time that buyer figures have topped the 400,000 mark since 2006, which accounted for 400,900 first-time buyers.

The 408,379 figure for first-time buyers in 2021 were up just over a third (36%) from 2007. According to the calculations made by Yorkshire Building Society (YBS), it is unlikely that these numbers will continue at this level in 2022 and beyond.

YBS made estimates for November and December last year with an analysis based on lending figures from UK Finance.

First-time buyer totals were up 35% on 2020’s figure of 303,000.  YBS stated that the first-time buyer peak was reached in 2002, when 531,800 took their first step on to the housing ladder.

The total from 2021 shows recovery from the financial crisis in 2008 when first-time buyer numbers plummeted to 191,000.  Considering how house prices have soared over the last year, and with demand far outstripping supply, these obstacles have clearly been overcome considering the new high number of first-time buyers.  Low mortgage rates and, the help-to-buy scheme and stamp duty holiday have also made house-buying more affordable.

Yorkshire Building Society have said that the typical price of a first-time buyer home increased by 9% in the year up to October, now costing around £222,997, whereas the previous year, the typical cost of a first-time buyer home was £204,230 – £18,767 less.

Nitesh Patel, strategic economist at YBS, said: “The performance of the first-time buyer market in 2021 has been extraordinary, particularly against the backdrop of uncertainties caused by the lockdown in the early months of the year.

“There are some strong drivers of demand that explain the increased volumes. Low borrowing costs is an important factor and the increased availability of more low-deposit mortgages has also been an enabler mostly for first-time buyers.

“Unemployment has also been falling for the last year and the jobs market has been getting stronger since the phased reopening in April.”

He added: “In the near-term housing demand will continue to exceed supply; however, with prices at an elevated level in comparison to local earnings, this should dampen activity. Therefore, it’s unlikely that we will continue to see first-time buyer numbers at this level in 2022 and beyond.”