Only 9% Of Future UK First-Time Buyers Will Be Able To Afford To Buy Alone

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The Law Of... buying a house solo

Amongst all first-time buyers, only 4% can do it without family or Government help

Amongst all first-time buyers, only 4% can do it without family or Government help

  • In Wales “go it aloners” (single people who can afford to buy on their own) account for just 2% of first time buyers and in the North East just 3%
  • London (5.5%) and the East Midlands (6%) lag well behind the national “go it aloner” average
  • Confidence of being able to buy “without a little help from my friends” is highest in the North West (13%) and Scotland and East Anglia (both 11%), but still lower than the 14% of “go it aloners” amongst recent first-time buyers in last week’s official English Housing Survey – suggesting the slow near-extinction of the “go it aloner” is set to continue

And whether buyers are buying alone or in a couple:

  • Just 4% of first-time buyers are able to shun help from parents, grandparents, friends and Government schemes, but again with regional variations:
  • In the North East, double this figure (8%) can do without help from other sources
  • In East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and Scotland the figure is as high as 6%
  • In the South West and in Wales, the figure falls to just 2%

Less than one in 10 prospective first-time buyers (9%) now believes they’ll be able to buy property alone, although regional variations show the “go it aloners” are in greatest numbers in the North West, Scotland and East Anglia, and at their lowest in Wales and the North East. This is according to new research from the conveyancing team at law firm Simpson Millar – who are today urging first-time buyers to get “the law of the first-time house purchase” right to avoid legal disputes along life’s winding road.

This new data shows that the number of go it aloners looks set to continue to decline dramatically – after last week’s release of the English Housing Survey 2014-15 found that the numbers buying alone over the last year fell by half, to 14% from the 1994-95 figure of 29%. If the forward-looking Simpson Millar data (which surveys prospective first-time buyers) is borne out, or even proves to be optimistic on the part of future first-time buyers, we could see a decline of 50% or more in the coming years.

And regardless of whether first-time buyers are buying alone or with a partner, however, few (just 4%) think they will be able to buy their property without financial help, with most expecting to need help from parents, friends, grandparents and/or a variety of Government schemes to get their foot on the property ladder.

These Government Help to Buy schemes are proving increasingly popular. Although only launched at the very end of 2015, already nearly 4 in 10 (38.2%) of those planning for their first house purchase expect to make use of the Help to Buy ISA with its ‘bonus’ savings contributions from Government. More than 1 in 10 also expect to draw on each of the other government initiatives available – the Lifetime ISA (11.8%); Help to Buy Equity Loans (10.3%); and the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee Scheme (13%).

Lisa Gibbs, Conveyancing Partner at Simpson Millar Solicitors, said:

"Within recent living memory, many people were able to get a job and buy a first flat without having found Mr or Mrs Right first. Nowadays, the first purchase is more likely to be a family home – and involve investments of tens of thousands of pounds from multiple sources."

"With so many sources of finance involved, and differing family contributions increasing the likelihood of ‘uneven deposits’ within couples, getting the legal ins and outs right today is more essential than ever. However, the law of the first-time house purchase isn’t keeping pace with the exponential increase in the up-front financial commitments involved, and the complexities that creates in these life-shaping transactions. Life often takes the form of a winding road, with unexpected twists and turns along the way. A few very simple legal precautions at the outset can make sure all concerned are protected from the future unknowns".

The Law Of... buying a house solo - The Rarity of Go-It-Aloners


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