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Halifax: first-time home buyers hit 10-year high

News   •   Jan 13, 2017 15:28 GMT

According to research by Halifax, there were more first-time buyers in 2016 than in the previous ten years.

Research by Halifax shows that there were more first-time buyers in 2016 than at any time since the financial crisis, and that the average price of a home in the UK broke through the £200,000 barrier for the first time.

The Halifax First-Time Buyer Review said the number of buyers entering the market hit 335,750 last year, up 7.3% on 2015. This is the highest level since the start of the financial crisis in 2007, and 75% higher than the all-time low of 192,300 first-time purchases seen in 2008. In 2006, buyers entering the market hit a peak of 402,800.

Compared with 2007, the average first-time deposit more than doubled to stand at more than £32,000.

Longer mortgages are being taken out, due to the rising property prices.

Last year 60% of first-time buyers took out a mortgage of 25 years or longer. More than a quarter (28%) took out a 30 to 35-year term mortgage.

Ten years ago, only 36% of people getting on to the first step of the property ladder borrowed for longer than 25 years. Nearly two thirds (64%) of first-time buyers took out a mortgage for between five and 25 years.

However, prices are massively varied across the UK. The average price paid by a first-time buyer across the UK as a whole in 2016 was a record £205,170, but in London it was nearly double that at £402,692, which was another all-time high.

Northern Ireland is the least expensive region, with the average cost of a first property at £115,269. It also has the lowest average deposit in the UK, after it fell by a fifth in a decade to £16,695.

Meanwhile the average deposit in London has shot up over that time by 276% to £100,445.

According to Halifax housing economist, Martin Ellis, the increase in first-time buyer numbers is down to continuing low mortgage rates and high levels of employment which had “supported the market”.

“Government schemes such as Help to Buy have improved affordability, enabling more first-time buyers to buy their own property,” he added.

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