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First-time buyers

Understanding the hopes and concerns of aspiring homeowners

Houses for sale
Published: October 2017

This research updates our 2016 report into the attitudes and plans of potential first-time home buyers aged 18 to 40 years old.


This report considers the aspirations and expectations of young adults in regards to owning their first home. It is commissioned by the Yorkshire Building Society


You can read the 2017 report here and 2016 report here.

Key findings 

  • Young adults in the UK continue to place important on owning their own home
    • 18 to 40-year-olds continue to prefer owner occupancy among all other tenures, though the popularity of living with family and friends has risen significantly since 2016.
    • As well as being a good financial investment, owning a property is associated with feeling settled and “grown up”.
  • Potential first-time buyers continue to be fairly optimistic about their prospects of owning a property.
    • Most (65%) felt that it was likely or very likely that they would own a property one day, and younger potential first-time buyers were most optimistic.
  • However, a lack of economic security and stability has emerged as a barrier to ownership over the last year.
    • One in five of all potential first-time buyers in 2017 reported that a lack of job security was a barrier to purchasing a property, compared to just one in ten in 2016
    • One in seven said that uncertainty around Brexit is preventing them from buying their first home.
  • Reliance on the “Bank of Mum and Dad” for help with buying a property is becoming the norm, though people worry about the impact of this on their family’s finances.
    • The majority (59%) of potential first-time buyers expected their parents or other family members to support them in buying their first property. Most commonly, a third expected to receive contributions towards their deposit.
    • Two-thirds (66%) of those expecting help from their parents or other family members felt guilty about this, and a similar proportion (59%) were concerned that helping them to buy a property might negatively affect their family members' finances in the future.


The research entailed an online survey of a nationally representative (UK) sample of 1030 18 to 40-year-olds who have never owned a property.

Download the report