4. Buyer respondent characteristics
This chapter provides an overview of the characteristics of respondents to the survey of buyers using the Help to Buy (Scotland), New Supply Shared Equity (NSSE) and Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) schemes. Findings are based primarily on survey responses, but include comparisons with Scottish Government published monitoring data on the characteristics of all buyers using the three schemes where available.
Buyers were asked about their age and the composition of their household at the time of buying. There were some differences in household type and age profile of buyers across the three shared equity schemes. Figures 17 and 18 summarise findings.
Most HtB respondents were two adult households (64%) and around a third (32%) were single adult households. Just over a quarter (26%) were households with children, which was lower than the corresponding monitoring data (35%). Half (50%) of HtB buyers were aged under 35, including 24% aged under 30 As a comparison, monitoring data suggested only 22% of buyers were aged 35+.
NSSE buyers were split between one adult (47%) and two adult households (52%), and 41% of households included children. NSSE respondents were also more likely to be older than HtB respondents; around a fifth (18%) were aged 55+ compared with 2% of HtB respondents
OMSE buyers were evenly divided between one adult (47%) and two adult households (47%). Households with children accounted for a larger proportion of OMSE respondents than HtB (45%, compared with 35%). Nearly half of OMSE respondents (47%) were aged under 35, including 23% aged under 30. As a comparison, monitoring data suggests that 70% of OMSE buyers were aged under 35.
Base: HtB 2039, NSSE 113, OMSE 937.
Base: HtB 2049, NSSE 115, OMSE 944.
The survey also asked buyers about their economic status and highest qualification at the time of buying through the shared equity scheme. As shown in figure 19, the vast majority of respondents (98%) were in employment, most in full-time employment (87%). Around half of respondents held a degree qualification (49%).
There were differences in the economic status and qualifications of buyers across the three schemes. A larger proportion of HtB respondents were in full-time employment;(91%, compared with 69% of NSSE and 80% of OMSE respondents). Similarly, HtB respondents were more likely to hold a degree qualification (54%, compared with 40% of NSSE and 34% of OMSE respondents).
Base: HtB 2060, NSSE 118, OMSE 955.
Base: HtB 2045, NSSE 113, OMSE 947
Buyers were asked to estimate their gross household income (including any benefits received) at the time of buying through the shared equity scheme.
Just over half (52%) of HtB respondents reported household incomes of more than £40,000, including more than a quarter (28%) with incomes of more than £50,000. The median income was approximately £41,000. As a comparison, the median income in the monitoring data was in the range £40,000-45,000 since 2015/16.
Two thirds (66%) of NSSE respondents reported household incomes of less than £30,000, and 8% had incomes of more than £40,000. The median income was approximately £27,000.
OMSE respondents had the lowest income levels across the three schemes. Around three quarters (74%) reported household incomes of less than £30,000, including a third (33%) with incomes of less than £20,000. The median income was approximately £24,000. As a comparison, 73% of buyers in the monitoring data had an income of less than £30,000.
There were also differences in household income across other buyer groups. First time buyers had a lower median income (£33,000) than other buyers (£43,000). One adult households also had a lower median income than two adult households (£28,000, compared with £42,000).
|Up to £20,000||2%||17%||33%|
|£20,001 to £30,000||18%||48%||42%|
|£30,001 to £40,000||28%||26%||18%|
|£40,001 to £50,000||25%||4%||6%|
|More than £50,000||28%||4%||1%|
|Median income (estimated)||£41,000||£27,000||£24,000|
Note that respondents were asked about their income at the time of buying. Most respondents bought their home between 2016 and 2019, but responses include some who bought prior to 2016. It has not been possible to adjust these incomes to account for inflation over the period since their house purchase. Median income estimated on the basis of income distribution and rounded to nearest £1,000.
Circumstances at the time of buying
As shown in figure 22, there were differences across the schemes in terms of buyers' living circumstances at the time of purchase.
HtB respondents were varied in their circumstances. Just over a third (34%) rented privately, just over a quarter lived with parents or relatives (27%) or owned their home (26%) and 9% were in social rented housing.
NSSE respondents were also varied in their circumstances. Just over a third (35%) rented privately, 20% lived with parents or relatives. NSSE respondents were less likely than HtB respondents to own their home (11%, compared with 26% of HtB buyers), and were more likely to be living in social rented housing (21%, compared with 9% of HtB buyers).
Just over half (51%) of OMSE respondents lived in private rented accommodation at the time of purchase. A further 21% were in social rented housing. Around a fifth (21%) lived with parents or relatives at the time of buying and very few (1%) owned their home.
Base: HtB 2240, NSSE 124, OMSE 1074
All three schemes include a particular focus on supporting first-time buyers. In addition, OMSE and NSSE include provision for priority access for social renters, disabled people, and members of the armed forces.
The survey included a series of questions relating to buyers' circumstances at the time of purchase, such as whether they were first-time buyers when they purchased through the scheme, and their living circumstances/housing tenure at the time of buying. Just under three quarters (73%) of respondents were first-time buyers, which varied across the three schemes (64% of HtB respondents, 71% of NSSE and 95% of OMSE respondents).
Base: HtB 2438, NSSE 130, OMSE 1174
Differences in the proportion of first time buyers accessing HtB were also seen depending on income. For buyers with incomes of less than £30,000, three quarters (75%) were first time buyers. This compares with a little more than half (54%) of those HtB buyers whose income was more than £50,000.
For HtB respondents, those that purchased in 2018 and 2019 were more likely to be first-time buyers than those who purchased prior to 2015 (72% in 2018 and 2019, compared with 49% prior to 2015). This is consistent with monitoring data where 82% of buyers in 2018/19 were first time buyers, compared with 66% prior to 2016.
The apparent increase in the proportion of first-time buyers since 2015/16 is also consistent with qualitative findings for developers and lenders (see chapters 6 and 7) regarding the impact of the reduction in the purchase price threshold in 2015. Responses to the survey also suggested a reduction in the proportion of HtB buyers with household incomes of more than £50,000; 19% of respondents buying in 2018 or 2019 compared with 47% of those buying prior to 2015.
First-time buyers who were supported by one of the shared equity products also appeared to differ from other buyers in terms of socio-economic profile and characteristics of their purchase. As Table 7 shows, first-time buyers were more likely than existing buyers to:
- be single or couple households without children (63% of first-time buyers compared with 44% of existing buyers);
- have a lower income (68% less than £40,000, compared with 41% of existing buyers);
- buy at lower price points (median of £150,000, compared with £190,000 for existing buyers);
- buy a flat (25%, compared with 8% of existing buyers);
- buy a smaller property (42% buying 1 or 2 bed, compared with 14% of existing buyers); and
- take a higher share from the Scottish Government (29% taking a share of 30% or more, compared with 7% of existing buyers).
|First-time buyers||Existing buyers||All buyers|
|1 adult, no children||32%||20%||29%|
|1 adult, with children||8%||11%||8%|
|2 adults, no children||31%||24%||29%|
|2 adults, with children||26%||42%||30%|
|Up to £20,000||12%||5%||10%|
|£20,001 to £30,000||30%||13%||24%|
|£30,001 to £40,000||26%||23%||24%|
|£40,001 to £50,000||17%||25%||18%|
|More than £50,000||15%||33%||19%|
|Property type bought|
|Property size bought|
|1 or 2 bedrooms||42%||14%||34%|
|Equity share provided by scheme|
|Less than 10%||3%||4%||3%|
|30% or more||29%||7%||23%|
In terms of the other groups targeted by the NSSE and OMSE schemes:
- Just over a fifth (21%) of both NSSE and OMSE respondents were social tenants at the time of buying.
- 6% of NSSE and OMSE respondents were from a visible minority ethnic background and a further 19% described their ethnicity as White - Polish. This compares with 7% of HtB respondents from a visible minority ethnic background (a further 3% describing their ethnicity as White - Polish).
Buyers were asked about the size and type of property they purchased through the schemes, and the purchase price. It should be noted that the findings below are based on self-reported information provided by respondents and it has not been possible to cross-reference or verify this with administrative data.
Overall respondents were more like to have purchased houses (77%) than flats (21%). Respondents were also more likely to have purchased 3+ bedroom properties (66%, compared with 34% buying 1 or 2 bedroom properties).
A large majority (85%) of HtB respondents purchased a house, and three quarters (75% of all HtB respondents) purchased a property with 3+ bedrooms. This appears to have changed over time as the HtB price cap was reduced. In 2018/19, 18% of buyers purchased a flat compared with 10% prior to 2016. Similarly, 33% those who purchased in 2018/19 bought a 1 or 2 bed property, compared with 17% prior to 2016.
Just over half of NSSE respondents (54%) purchased a house and 40% purchased flats. Most NSSE buyers (60%) purchased two bedroom properties. For OMSE respondents, 59% purchased a house and 31% purchased a flat. Just under half (46%) of OMSE buyers bought two bedroom properties and a further 37% bought a property with three bedrooms.
Base: HtB 2441, NSSE 129, OMSE 1176.
Base: HtB 2445, NSSE 130, OMSE 1174.
Buyers were also asked about the sale price of their property.
A median price of £180,000 for HtB respondents reflected the substantial proportion (52%) of respondents buying in the £150,000-£199,999 price range. Just over a fifth (21%) reported a purchase price of less than £150,000 while 27% reported a price of more than £200,000 (all bought prior to reduction in the price cap). There also appears to have been a change over time, consistent with the reducing HtB price cap. Prior to 2016, 55% of buyers purchased a property under £200,000, compared with 92% of those buying in 2018/19.
More than half (58%) of NSSE respondents bought in the £100,000-£149,999 price range, including 14% who bought at a price of less than £100,000. The median price was £135,000 for NSSE respondents. A large majority (83%) of OMSE respondents bought at less than £150,000, including around a quarter (24%) at less than £100,000. The median price for OMSE buyers was £116,000.
|£200,000 or more||27%||2%||3%|
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