First-Time Buyers: Facts and Figures from Around the World

How Do First-Time Buyers in the UK Compare with the Rest of the World

Getting on the housing ladder in the UK is no easy feat, with property prices and inflation meaning it can take first-time buyers (FTBs) years to save the deposit for their first home.

As a result, the average age of an FTB in this country has risen to 34*. For context, it was 29 in 1981.

So, how does this compare to other countries? Are FTBs in Spain, South Africa or Switzerland older or younger**? Let’s take a look.

First-Time Buyers Facts and Figures from around the World
First-Time Buyers Facts and Figures from around the World


The land of luxury watches, decadent chocolates and yodelling has another claim to fame: its FTBs are the oldest in the world.

Property is expensive in Switzerland, with the average house costing 1.2 million francs*** (equivalent to just over a million pounds). As a result, the average age for a Swiss FTB is 48.

High property prices and the legal requirement for a 20% deposit mean many people rent. Only 36% of the Swiss population owns their home, compared to 65% in the UK.

The rest of Europe

Belgium has the youngest FTBs in Europe (average age 27), followed by France and Austria (31), Germany (34), Romania (36) and Spain (41).

Interestingly, as in Switzerland, many Germans never buy a home. Less than half of the population are owner-occupiers, a statistic attributed to high transaction taxes, positive attitudes towards renting and a strong social housing sector.

Australia and New Zealand

Aussies tend to be obsessed with real estate, especially in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, where property prices (which have boomed over the past decade) are a popular topic of conversation.

First-timers get on the ladder around the age of 36, often helped along by the generosity of the Bank of Mum and Dad. The average age for their Kiwi neighbours to buy their first home is 35.

Africa and North America

The average age of FTBs in South Africa and Kenya is 35, and in Nigeria, it’s 40. Looking across the pond, in the US, the average age of newcomers to the property market is 33, while in Canada, it’s 36.

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*Source: Coventry Building Society


***Source: Rigby AG.