A first-time buyer (FTB) is a term used in the British and Irish property markets, and in other countries, for a potential house buyer who has not previously owned a property.
There are many factors a first-time buyer may need to consider before purchasing their first property; how much initial cash they will need for stamp duty and any solicitors fees, and if they need to arrange a mortgage how much are they able to afford.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, home ownership is seen as a natural step in the life cycle and the natural form of property tenure. Ireland has one of the highest proportions of owner-occupiers in the EU at around 80%.
In the UK 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 Ireland, FTB's represent 34% of the market.
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.
Since then however, first time buyers have regained some momentum in the market, with reports in 2010 citing first-time buying as the most popular of consumer enquiries for a local, whole of market mortgage adviser - accounting for 37% of total enquiries.