• The impact of the pandemic means two-fifths (44%) of first-time buyers expect they will be able to buy a home sooner than they had previously intended
  • Would-be buyers pocketed an extra £500 a month on average since the pandemic started, but still face a four-year wait to take the first step on the property ladder
  • But the wait is worth it - seven in ten (71%) say buying a first property is essential to feeling like they’ve succeeded in life, while three fifths (61%) say it’s more important now than before the Covid-19 crisis

Aspiring first-time buyers could get a foot on the property ladder quicker than they may have thought, as new research shows would-be homeowners remain optimistic about buying their first home following the pandemic.

Two-in-five (44%) first-time buyers say the impact of the Covid-19 crisis means they will be able to purchase a property sooner than they had previously intended, with just a fifth (21%) saying it had delayed their plans, research by Yorkshire Building Society found[i].

Spurred on by multiple lockdowns and less opportunities to spend, almost half (48%) of those surveyed said they have been able to save more towards their first home during the pandemic, with an average increase of more than £500 a month. Men pocketed more than £640 a month, compared to women who managed to put away almost £360 extra each month for their first property.

But despite their savings being accelerated, first-time buyers face an average wait of four years’ saving to purchase a property. Almost a third (31%) said they expect they will have been saving up to two years, but a fifth (22%) said it could be nearer to ten years of saving before they have enough money to buy their first home.

Ben Merritt, senior mortgage manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said:

Our research shows that for those who have benefitted financially from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, it’s fuelled the ability to save more for a first home and brought the first step on the property ladder closer than people previously expected.

The first-time buyer market is swiftly heading back to pre-Covid levels of mortgage choice and availability, and with smaller deposit options having made a comeback, and new government support on the table, first-time buyers could have good reason to be optimistic.

However with a fifth of first-time buyers having had their plans delayed by the pandemic, and the same saying they expect to have to save for up to a decade, it’s a stark reminder that the upfront costs of purchasing a house still prove too big a barrier to overcome for some.

The findings do however reveal it could be worth the wait, with two-thirds (65%) of respondents admitting that owning their own home would be life’s biggest achievement, above career aims (39%), having or adopting children (33%) or getting married (31%). Seven in ten (71%) say getting the keys to a first house is essential to people feeling like they have succeeded in life, while three fifths (61%) say it is more important now than before the pandemic.

Ben added:

Despite the housing market being notoriously tough for aspiring homeowners, it’s really encouraging to see that first-time buyers’ ambition is not fading. The importance they place on owning a home, which for many is singled out as life’s biggest achievement, shows their resolve for homeownership has only been strengthened by the pandemic.


[i] Yorkshire Building Society commissioned Opinium to carry out the online research with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK first-time buyers, defined as those who intend to purchase a house in up to 3 years’ time.

All surveys were conducted between 21st May 2021 and 27th May 2021.

All information correct at time of publication.