• 24/04/2023

First-time buyer enquiries surge as house prices stabilise

Legal & General reported a 22% spike in searches on its SmartrFit platform made on behalf of first-time buyers from February to March.

The increase suggests that first-time buyers are actively pursuing homeownership as house prices level out.

Total searches also grew in March 2023, reaching the highest level since August 2022, indicating a healthy market.

Searches for HMO properties increased by 24.6%, indicating that landlords are responding to rental demand and the buy-to-let market is showing signs of resilience.

The single most popular mortgage criteria search for the month was made for applicants with a visa, continuing an almost six-month-long trend.

Jodie White, head of mortgage products & transformation, Legal & General Technology, said, “Despite gloomy predictions for the housing market in 2023, it is heartening to see that customers’ changing needs are being met with a dynamic range of highly competitive and innovative products.

“In particular, with green mortgages growing in popularity, advisers can use our SmartrFit tool to view property EPCs and generate certificates.”

She added: “Our data is a strong indicator that affordability is gradually improving for some. On one side of the market, first-time buyers are stepping forward to realise their homeowning dreams, but many are having to lean on gifted deposits and other forms of financial gifting to fund their purchase.

“There are also still signs to suggest that many people have not yet recovered from the financial hardship of the last year and are very much in need of the support of an adviser to find a product that best suits their borrowing profile.”