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First-time buyer numbers reach highest level in a decade

  • Publish Date: Posted over 5 years ago

During the first half of 2018 the number of first-time buyers has reached its highest level in a decade, according to the latest figures.

Data compiled by the Halifax and compared to average earnings statistics from the Office for National Statistics and mortgage and deposit data from UK Finance, highlights that the number of first-time buyers has increased by 21% in the past decade.

The current figures are now only 8% lower than the peak during the housing boom of 2006 and are very different to the first six months of 2009, which saw a record low of 72,700.

Many within the sector attribute government backed schemes such as Help to Buy, introduced in 2013, as having helped boost the figures, combined with historically low mortgages rates. Help to Buy can be used with a deposit of as little as five per cent and has helped 128,318 first-time buyers since its launch. 

The figures also highlight the most affordable places for first-time buyers to buy as Pendle in Lancashire and Stirling in Scotland, with average property prices at 3 times local annual average gross earnings at £97,387 and £143,148 respectively. 

Indeed, Scotland is the most affordable area for first-time buyers as it includes 8 out of 10 of the most affordable local authority districts.

At the other end of the scale, there is no surprise in the fact that the 10 least affordable local authority districts are in London, with Brent in London being the least affordable, with an average price of £478,995 being 12.7 times gross average earnings.

Deposits needed for first-time buyers has also increased over the years on the back of higher house prices, with the average price paid by a first-time buyer having risen from £172,659 in 2008 to £208,741 today.

The average first-time buyer property price in London has seen the greatest increase, up 48% during the past decade to £419,608, followed by the South East, up 37% to £210,639. By contrast, the average first time buyer price in the north has increased by 8% and for Wales by 9%.

The average age of a first-time buyer has also seen an increase with the average age now standing at 31, two years older than a decade ago, however in London it has grown from 31 to 33 since 2008, the oldest age in Britain.