First Time Buyer Mortgages Consumer Research Report 2021

This report traces the ‘customer journey’ of consumers when they purchase their first home and take out a mortgage. It considers who FTBs are and the differences between the main types, the types of journeys undertaken (online/office, professionally supported/independent etc.) and considers the pinch points along the process and satisfaction with the overall journey. It finally discusses what happens when the journey is over and the journey taker becomes a customer.

Three types of first-time buyer (FTB) are considered:


  • Those who have purchased their first homes since 2018: Completed Journey FTBs
  • Future FTBs:
    • Those who are currently engaged in the home buying process but have yet to complete: Journey In Progress FTBs
    • Those who have not yet started a journey but have definite plans to do so over the coming year or so: Journey Not Started FTBs

This is based on research with 609 FTB individuals.

Report Highlights

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the mortgage customer journey of individuals when buying their first homes. 67% of first-time buyers (FTBs) who purchased their homes during the COVID years of 2020 and 2021 were impacted by COVID. Its key impacts on FTBs were:

  1. It generally reduced home buying activity among FTBs. The  negative effects were more pronounced at the start of the pandemic in 2020 rather than in 2021, when lockdowns began to ease.
  2. It changed the demand for professional support.
  3. It encouraged an online virtual journey rather than a real work journey. Journeys went from bricks to clicks.
  4. It lowered the dependence on mortgages as a source of finance for the first home. This could be because during COVID high LTV mortgages were withdrawn, meaning the market shifted towards more affluent FTBs who rely less on mortgages when buying.
  5. It made customer journeys harder to navigate. Journey takers impacted by COVID and more generally all FTBs taking a journey in 2020 and 2021, found the journey harder, compared with those taking journeys in 2018/2019.
  6. It inspired customer-provider communications.

These are just some of the findings from the report.

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