First-time buyers are leading the property market

Mortgages down

Zooplablog reports that the number of people getting on to the property ladder hit a seven-year high during the first half of this year, and first-time buyers accounted for 46 per cent of all home purchases during the first six months – the highest proportion since 2000.

An estimated 144,500 people bought their first home during the first six months of 2014; a total that is 25 per cent up on the same period of 2013, according to mortgage lender Halifax.

It was also the third consecutive year in which first-time buyer numbers have surpassed the 100,000 mark during the six months to June.

The increase in first-time buyers outstripped the improvement in the number of existing homeowners who bought a property, with the number of next time buyers increasing by only 20 per cent during the same period.

Despite recent strong house price inflation, low interest rates helped to keep mortgage repayments affordable for people buying their first home.

The average person getting on to the property ladder had to devote 31 per cent of their post-tax income to mortgage repayments.

Halifax said this figure was significantly below both the peak of 47 per cent of earnings reached during the first half of 2007 and the long-term average of 34 per cent.

But first-time buyers did have to put down significant deposits, with these averaging £31,129 – 9 per cent more than they put down a year earlier.

The average age of a first-time buyer has also increased, rising to 30 years old in 2014, compared with 28 in 2009.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “The resurgence in the number of first-time buyers getting on to the housing ladder has been buoyed by improving economic conditions, rising employment levels as well as Government schemes such as Help to Buy.”

The typical first-time buyer paid £167,137 for their home during the first half of the year, putting 60 per cent of people above the £125,000 Stamp Duty threshold.

Unsurprisingly, there were significant regional variations, with first-time buyers in London paying the most for their property at an average of £306,354.

This figure was more than £100,000 above those in the South East, which had the second highest purchase price at an average of £203,826.

The North was the least expensive region in which to get on to the housing ladder, with first-time buyers paying an average of £110,410 there, meaning 72 per cent of them did not have to pay any stamp duty.


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