The number of first time buyers hit a ten-year high in 2016, according to Halifax research.
The lender’s latest First Time Buyer Review says there were 335,750 first time buyers last year, up 7.3% from 312,900 in 2015. Halifax says the 2016 figure is the highest since the start of the financial crisis in 2007, when the figure was 359,900. However, the UK population rose by 2.78 million between 2007 and 2017 to 64.1 million.
First time buyer numbers still remain 17% below the immediate pre-crisis peak of 402,800 in 2006. In 2006, 36% of all house purchases financed by a mortgage were made by first time buyers.In 2016, this proportion is estimated to have reached 49%, the highest level since 1996.
The average first time buyer deposit has more than doubled over the past decade from £15,168 in 2006 to £32,321 in 2016 – an increase of 113%.In London the average deposit by new entrants to the housing market has grown four-fold in the past decade, from £26,701 to £100,445 – an increase of 276%.
House prices rocket
In 2016 the average house price paid by first time buyers was £205,170 – the highest on record. Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis says: “The number of buyers getting on the housing ladder exceeded 300,000 for the third year in succession – a welcome boost for current homeowners, house builders and the government.
“Continuing low mortgage rates, high levels of employment have supported the market and Government schemes such as Help to Buy have improved affordability, enabling more first-time buyers to buy their own property.”