Bank of Ireland Research Shows First Time Buyer Support for New ‘Help to Buy’ Measures

A survey among first time buyers, conducted by RED C for Bank of Ireland in the week after Budget 2017, shows a majority, 51%, believe the new ‘Help to Buy’ scheme introduced in the Budget will make it easier for them to buy their first home, while 33% said it would not help, and 16% were unsure. 76% of respondents to the survey, which was conducted among over 200 prospective first time buyers countrywide in the 25 to 45 age group, said the new scheme was easy to understand. 83% of respondents are currently renting, paying an average of €840 per month, with 32% paying more than €1,000 per month in rent. When asked about the single biggest challenge facing first time buyers, 46% said it was the cost of property, 30% said it was the ability to save for the deposit, and 15% said it was the lack of availability of supply in the areas in which they would like to buy. Only 6% cited the ability to afford mortgage repayments as the single biggest challenge.

74% of first time buyers are already saving to buy a home and of these, 51% have been saving for more than two years, 22% have been saving for one to two years while the remainder have been saving for less than one year.

51% believe the new ‘Help to Buy’ measures will make it easier for them to buy their first home. 23% stated a preference for buying a new home, 34% said they would prefer to buy a second hand home and 19% want to build their own house. However, 24% did not have a preference in this regard. There was an overwhelming preference for buying houses rather than apartments, with 85% preferring houses, while 6% said they wanted to buy an apartment, with 9% having no preference.

The vast majority, 81%, intend to buy with their partner, with 18% saying they are planning to buy on their own. As anticipated, the key cities accounted for the majority of demand with 36% of respondents hoping to buy in Dublin, 17% in Cork with the urban areas of Galway and Limerick scoring higher than the rest at 4% each. The traditional commuter counties, in particular Kildare also proved popular. When asked how far they would be willing to commute to work or college, 42% of first time buyers said they would be willing to travel over 20km, 25% expressed a preference for 11 to 20km, but 33% said they were only willing to travel up to 10km.

Speaking about the First Time Buyer Survey, John O’Beirne, Head of Mortgages, Bank of Ireland, said “There’s a clear welcome from first time buyers for the Government’s Help to Buy initiative. We know from talking to our customers that this cohort is under pressure to save the required deposit, and our survey demonstrates that first time buyers are generally saving for a long time and are very committed to achieving their goal of owning a home.

“As a bank we have options to suit all customers tailored for different stages of the home-buying journey – saving a deposit, searching for the perfect property, and settling in and managing their mortgage. We are keen for first time buyers to come and talk to us so that we can explain each step of the mortgage journey, access the Help to Buy scheme and help speed up the path to ownership for them.”

Bank of Ireland is hosting First Time Buyer Week across its 250 branches nationwide in November to provide advice for first time buyers interested in finding out more about the Help to Buy scheme, helpful hints and tips on the mortgage application process and other elements of the property buying process. Bank of Ireland recently launched a new mortgage product, Cashback PLUS, which offers current account customers 2% cashback on their new mortgage at drawdown, along with an extra 1% cashback five years later (subject to meeting the terms of the mortgage). The Cashback PLUS offer is available to Bank of Ireland current account customers who draw down a new First Time Buyer, Mover or Switcher mortgage before 31st March 2017.

Editor’s Notes:

  • Findings are based on RED C First Time Buyer Budget Survey for Bank of Ireland
  • Research was conducted 18th to 20th October 2016.
  • Warning: If you do not keep up your repayments you may lose your home.
  • Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears. This may affect your credit rating, which may limit your ability to access credit in the future.


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