A happy home buyer enjoys her new home. Home Buyers Statistics Analysed: SAM Conveyancing's Landmark Survey Results
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Home Buyers Statistics Analysed: Our Landmark Survey Results

(Last Updated: 12/12/2023)
8 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Energy Efficiency is a much stronger factor for younger buyers than for their older peers. Shockingly, more than half (59%) of all homeowners surveyed didn't consider energy efficiency at all for their most recent purchase.
  • 39% of homeowners surveyed struggled to find or afford a suitable property.
  • 6% had to renegotiate or pull out of their purchase after it was undervalued, with most being able to knock the price down.

Nearly 60% of homeowners didn't prioritise energy efficiency when they last bought a property.

This new survey reveals a startling lack of concern for energy efficiency and sustainability among recent homeowners. Despite climate change impacts, the vast majority said it did not factor into their purchase decision.

Source: YouGov
Base: All GB homeowners

Younger homebuyers seem to be ahead of the curve, however only less than one third of the 18-34 group are calling it a top priority. The number of homeowners in this age bracket was smaller than older age brackets, so is considered not statistically reflective. What is significant is that the consideration given to energy efficiency and sustainability when buying a home decreases with age (5% for 35-44, 4% for 45-54 and 4% for 55+). This may be due to the younger generations' (typically higher) awareness of climate change, tighter budgets when it comes to utility bills, or savviness when it comes to the buy to let market.

Although the proposed changes have been delayed, energy efficiency looks set to become more important when letting a property, with a suggested minimum EPC rating of C for rented properties, although the timing for this is unclear. If your own energy costs are not a priority, perhaps your letting potential is.

In addition to the legally required EPC certificate from your seller, we now offer an optional extra climate risk report, which provides a forecast of predicted impact on your property including:
  • Soil Subsidence
  • Coastal Erosion
  • Extreme Wind Days
  • Riverine Flooding
  • Surface Water Flooding
  • Coastal Flooding
  • Medium and High emission scenarios
  • Risks estimates at intervals up until the 2080's
Example Climate Risk Report from Dye & Durham

First-time homebuyers face uphill battle: Top challenges revealed

Becoming a first-time homeowner is never easy, but this survey sheds light on the toughest hurdles buyers face.

Difficulty in finding a suitable property

This challenge topped the list, with 26.2% of homeowners saying they had difficulty finding a suitable property. This is unsurprising, as the country is deep in an ongoing housing crisis. With so few properties on the market and such a high number of transactions falling through, even when you have found a suitable property, our market leading expert, Andrew Boast, recommends that you stay in touch with agents and keep half an eye on other properties coming onto the market, at least until contracts are signed.

When you do find the right home for you, check out our tips on How to make an offer on a house, for the best chance of a having your offer accepted.


24.75% of respondents selected affordability as a challenge to buying their home. This is expected, especially with house prices rising so steeply for so long and base rates driving the mortgage rates up and out of many hopeful homeowners' reach. In July 2023, average house prices dropped by 3.8%, now £13,000 below the peak of this time last year. This is the greatest annual decrease in 14 years and will hopefully make home ownership a possibility for more first time buyers. However, those who bought during the peak last year may be facing concerns over negative equity.

Source: House Price Index (HPI)

If you need help and advice on financing your purchase, book a free consultation with our excellent mortgage advisors*.

Free Consultation* | 100% Impartial Advice | Access to Whole Market

Legal processes

20.96% of homeowners faced challenges with legal processes surrounding their move. Your SAM Conveyancing executive is positioned to bridge the gap between you and your solicitor, updating you on your solicitor's progress and reminding you of what points you can action and when. Read our guide: Easy Conveyancing - The secrets to a stress free move

Property chain delays

Property chain delays affected 17.77% of buyers surveyed. It's important to understand your chain, to get an idea of how long it will take to get all the transactions aligned for completion. Delays can happen and the longer your chain, the more likely you will have to be flexible.

Less common challenges include: documentation requirements (17.07%); conveyancing issues (12.68%); getting a mortgage (11.12%); house surveys (6.95%); and gazumping (4.72%). 32.36% reported no challenges, with 4% and 2.38% reporting 'other' and 'don't know'.

Lender undervaluation: rare, with good chance to renegotiate

Source: YouGov
Base: All GB homeowners with a mortgage or shared ownership

What can I do if my lender undervalues the property?

Generally, lender valuations are pretty reliable, as they are conducted by an independent RICS valuer. You may be able to dispute the valuation but it is more common to accept the valuation and negotiate with the seller for an adjusted sale price.

The True Cost of Hidden Home Defects for Unwary Buyers

Think skipping the home inspection will save you money? Think again. 16% of homeowners found defects including 2% who were able to pull out of a bad purchase, 7% who were able to negotiate a better price and sadly, 7% of homeowners who did not get a survey and discovered defects after the purchase. Of this sub-group, 55% did not remember how much the defects cost to repair, leaving only 45% who did remember. While this is not a large enough pool to be statistically significant, our survey reveals that 12 of the 39 within this group remembered spending over £5,000 on repairing the defects.

Source: YouGov
Base: All GB homeowners

Now, some houses need a bit of work, and there's nothing wrong with that. But, you need to know what to expect, decide whether you still can and want to take on the property, and negotiate your purchase price against the additional expense. Book a RICS Survey with SAM Conveyancing, so you're not caught off guard. We'll arrange access with your seller.

Personal recommendation is the strongest source when looking for a conveyancing solicitor

24% of homeowners selected personal recommendation from friends and family as having helped them find a conveyancing solicitor, with a further 23% selecting their estate agent's recommendation. It's interesting how much we rely on the recommendations of people we have a personal relationship or professional rapport with, compared to only 11% who selected online search, which is arguably more neutral or unbiased. Perhaps as humans we will always trust a 'gut feeling over' a computers' algorithms.

Source: YouGov
Base: All GB homeowners

With more than 1 in 5 selecting the estate agent's recommendation it seems more consumer awareness is needed around how estate agent recommendations really work. Estate agent recommendations are so vulnerable to corruption that Trading Standards specifically prohibit them from pressuring buyers to use a specific solicitor or broker. This is because the estate agent represents the seller, while your solicitor represents you, the buyer. This is a clear conflict of interest which is compromised by the relationship between agent and solicitor, when the solicitor you're using is motivated towards the estate agent (and seller's) interests in order to keep earning referrals from them, rather than being entirely focused on your best interests.

We strongly encourage all our readers to gather more information and choose their conveyancer based on multiple factors, including a broad sample of authentic reviews from a reputable source, such as Trustpilot or Google.

Cost is the most important deciding factor when choosing a solicitor

A whopping 41% didn't know or recall what their deciding factor was, which suggests that choosing a solicitor just isn't getting as much attention as it perhaps should amongst other big distractions, like finding a house and securing funding. For those who did remember it was a fairly even split between options with cost winning at 16% and number of reviews coming in at a clear last place, at 5%.

Source: YouGov
Base: All GB homeowners

It would appear that buyers are under-estimating how much their choice of conveyancer can affect their experience of buying a property. Having SAM on your side can make all the difference when roadblocks and hiccups turn up with your property. Your SAM Conveyancing executive bridges the gap between you and your solicitor (hand selected by us, for the efficient, quality service) keeping you in the loop and up to speed on the progress of your transaction, for peace of mind.

*SAM Conveyancing has negotiated a FREE Mortgage Consultation with our panel mortgage broker. This allows you a free mortgage consultation to discuss your specific requirements and provide mortgage opportunities for the Service being requested. If you want to proceed with a formal mortgage application through your mortgage broker, then a mortgage application fee maybe payable. If there is a fee to pay for your mortgage application, it will be explained to you at the point of discussing your mortgage options.

You can disengage the services of your Mortgage Broker before making a formal application, and no fee will be levied.

Read our - Terms and Conditions.

SAM Conveyancing is an approved partner of Advies Private Client, and this page is an advertisement for them. SAM Conveyancing does not provide or arrange mortgage advice, but we may receive a commission for any product you take with Advies Private Client after we introduce you to them.

The FCA does not regulate SAM Conveyancing and does not provide any insurance or mortgage products, nor can we provide any advice on different insurance or mortgage products. Please liaise with your chosen Advies Private Client for any insurance advice.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2122 adults, of which 1,371 were homeowners (outright, mortgage or shared ownership). Fieldwork was undertaken between 20th - 21st July 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

YouGov is registered with the Information Commissioner. YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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