Four out of ten people who bought an existing home at the end of last year were first-time buyers, slightly more than the year before. Home prices had dropped in the last quarter of 2022 compared to the previous months but were still higher than at the end of 2021, according to housing market figures from the Land Registry.
Prices for an existing home were 5.1 percent higher at the end of last year than twelve months earlier. Compared to the third quarter of 2022, homes were 2.4 percent cheaper.
The share of first-time buyers increased by 2 percent in one year to 40 percent a the end of 2022. That percentage was higher in the large cities, where almost half of all home buyers were starters on the housing market. According to the Land Registry, young people more often look for homes in the cities rather than in small towns or villages. By comparison, only a third of homebuyers in smaller municipalities were first-time buyers.
People moving from one owned home to the next postponed their moving plans last year due to uncertainties caused by increased energy prices and low consumer confidence, among other things. According to the Land Registry, young starters, on the other hand, still felt the need to move. Another factor was that young homebuyers have been exempt from transfer tax since January 2022. For those moving from an owned home, the tax is 2 percent of the price.
First-time buyers also had a better chance of buying a home because fewer homes were sold, so the supply was higher. At the end of last year, over 51,000 homes changed hands, 3 percent less than a year earlier. The decline in sales was greatest in Zuid-Holland at 9 percent and lowest in Gelderland at 5.4 percent.
Prices for an existing owner-occupied home have been falling slowly since August last year. Homes especially became cheaper in Noord-Holland, Zuidwest-Friesland, and Noordoost-Gelderland. Of the four largest cities, home prices fell most in Utrecht, where houses were 6.3 percent cheaper than in the previous quarter. Only Rotterdam (-1.7 percent) saw a decrease lower than the national average of 2.4 percent.
Reporting by ANP