First time buyer

A first time buyer (FTB) is a term used in the British property market, and in other countries, for a potential house buyer who has not previously owned a property.

A first time buyer is usually desirable to a seller as they do not have to sell a property, and as such will not involve a housing chain.

There are many factors a first time buyer will need to consider before purchasing their first property, such as how much they will be able to borrow, how much they can afford to pay each month, how much initial cash they will need for stamp duty, solicitors fees and a deposit, which sort of mortgage they should use and how they should repay it. For this reason, most will use a mortgage broker.

In the UK home ownership is seen as a natural step in the life cycle and the natural form of property tenure. In the 1980s almost half of all mortgages were taken out by first-time buyers, but this has now declined to only about 15%.

In recent years the number of new buyers purchasing property has declined, with FTBs being "priced out of the market" by ever increasing house prices.

In the 2007 Scottish parliamentary election the Scottish National Party proposed a £2,000 grant for first time buyers to help them get onto the property ladder.

Grants have not been forthcoming in the rest of the UK, but in July 2007 Housing Minister Yvette Cooper announced it would be broadening the government's Homebuy Shared Equity scheme to help buyers. "Unless we act now by 2026 first time buyers will find average house prices are ten times their salary. That could lead to real social inequality and injustice," Cooper told Parliament.

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