Mortgage journalists may be spoilt for choice about which story to pick up first. A good starting point for many is often the low number of transactions in the mortgage market over the past four years. Our 2012 forecast shows that this year we expect gross advances to be £133bn, the lowest since 2000.
One group of borrowers always singled out for dwindling numbers is first-time buyers. There were half as many in 2010 as before the credit crunch in 2006 – 200,000 compared with 400,000.
But this extends to home movers as well. The proportion of both groups has stayed static at about 36% for first-time buyers and 64% for movers since around 2005.
So despite the assertions of commentators that first-time buyers have borne the brunt of the housing market’s misfortunes, our numbers show this isn’t true.
But they are a significant part of the market and the government is trying to boost the number of people buying their first home.
Although one incentive – the Stamp Duty concession – will end in March, there will soon be the mortgage indemnity guarantee scheme, which should enable more buyers to purchase new-build property with a smaller deposit.
Removing one of the barriers to home ownership – the need for a large deposit – could prove to be a decent step in the right direction.