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Up to 1.5 million regretted not buying their home in 2012

15 Feb 2013

According to research by first direct 3.6% of UK adults, equivalent to over 1.5 million people, said their biggest financial regret of 2012 was not moving or buying a home for the first time.  This rose to over 8% amongst 25-34 year olds amounting to almost 600,000 people*. 

Whilst there was a 1% increase in property sales in England and Wales last year, only 640,000 properties were sold**, half the number of homes sold when the market was at its peak in 2006 (1.3 million sales).   When the number of homes sold in 2012 is compared to those who regretted not buying it's almost two thirds less.

Andy Forbes, Head of Retail Products at first direct commented:

"It's worrying that such a large number of people regretted not buying a home in 2012.  Buying a home is understandably a daunting prospect especially in these financially uncertain times, but at first direct we're committed to helping first time buyers overcome some of the obstacles to getting on the property ladder."

To help borrowers keep upfront costs down and overcome at least one of the barriers to buying a home, first direct offers a range of 'Homebuyer' mortgages.  Not only are these 'Homebuyer' loans fee free***, but those buying a property will only require a 10 - 15% deposit and can choose to fix their monthly payments for 2 , 3 or 5 years or track the Bank of England Base Rate for the duration of the mortgage.

To further encourage some of those who regretted not buying to take the plunge, first direct has compiled a list of tips to get on the property ladder:

  • Research how much you can afford to borrow to get a feel for the size of deposit you will need to save. 
  • Budget - plan your income and expenditure to understand how much you could save on a monthly basis to build up a deposit towards your dream home.
  • Don't forget the other costs involved in buying a home.  If all your savings are being put towards your deposit, consider first direct 's Fee Free mortgages: no arrangement fee, no booking fee and no standard valuation fee - costs which can soon mount up.  A homebuyer could typically save over £1,600 with first direct 's Fee Free Homebuyer mortgages****.
  • Consider a fixed rate mortgage if you want to know what your monthly payments will be whilst you find your feet.
  • Low deposit mortgages are becoming increasingly available in the market, so do your research to find the best deal for you
  • Remember to haggle on the value of your chosen property; vendors commonly build 10-15% in to their asking price and the worst that can happen is they say "no".
  • If you're not part of a chain and have a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP) you'll normally be in a much stronger position to have your offer accepted.  An AIP from first direct lasts for six months.




For further information please contact Rebecca Hirst on 0113 276 6899, or Amanda Brown on 0113 276 6700, 


Notes to Editors

The 'Financial Regrets' survey was carried out by Opinion Matters between the 4th and 18th January 2013 for first direct and questioned 2002 people aged 18 and over.  Full survey results are available on request.

* UK population figures Mid-year 2011 from ONS 

  • 41,766,418 18yrs+ in UK, 3.6% of this number is 1,503,591.048
  • 7,186,377 25-34 yr. olds in UK, 8.3% of this number is 596,469.291 

** Property sales in England and Wales 2012



Sales 2012 (England & Wales)

Sales 2011 (England & Wales)










































November (ave Jan - Oct)




December (ave. Jan - Oct)




Eng & Wales Total sales 2012





*** Fee free means:

  • No arrangement fee
  • No booking fee
  • No standard valuation fee

first direct will cover the cost of one standard valuation where this is required as part of the mortgage application.  Additionally, where it is a straight forward transfer from another lender, first direct also pays the standard legal costs. 

Homebuying mortgage costs****


Potential home buying cost

Costs for first time buyers (FTBs)*****

Cost for FTBs with first direct fee free mortgage

Costs for second time buyers (STBs)*****

Cost for STBs with first direct fee free mortgage

10% deposit (assuming 90% LTV mortgage)





Mortgage booking / arrangement fee ******





Standard mortgage valuation report





Total cost






*****At the end of 2012 the average first time buyer house price in the UK was £159,598 and second time buyers found themselves looking at an average cost of £229,435 from ONS quarterly house price index, Table 10 and Table 13 (All Dwellings) 

****** Average mortgage booking / arrangement fee according to Which? 01/01/12


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first direct facts

  • Winner of Best Lender for Offset Mortgages - Moneywise Mortgage Awards June 2012
  • Winner of the Which? Best Financial Provider and Moneywise Most Trusted Financial Provider awards 3 years running
  • Top financial institution in the Which? Customer Satisfaction Survey with an all-time high of 93%
  • Ranked first in the Retail Banking Satisfaction Study by J D Power & Associates for two years running
  • Recently (Feb 2012) received 90% customer satisfaction in a survey carried out by

first direct provides both telephone banking and online banking services to its 1.2m customers.  It offers a full range of personal banking products including its award winning Current Account and offset mortgages

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