First-Time Home Buyers ‘Up 12% In Past Year’

The past 12 months saw 12% more first-time buyers take the plunge into the property market than in 2011, according to a report by the Halifax.

About 216,000 people got their feet onto the property ladder in 2012, the highest number since the credit crunch began.

First-Time Home Buyers ‘Up 12% In Past Year’

But it is still almost half the 402,800 people who bought their first home in 2006.

The average age of a first-time buyer has increased to 30, from 29 a year ago, and the typical deposit required is now 20% – compared with the deposit of around 10% put down in 2007.

Halifax said the rise was due to more mortgages coming on the market.

The number available has increased by around a fifth since a multibillion-pound Government scheme was launched in August to kick-start lending to firms and households.

The Government also recently introduced the NewBuy scheme, which helps people to buy a new-build home with a fraction of the usual deposit.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “The number of first-time buyers has risen to a five-year high, boosted by the improvement in affordability resulting from the reductions in both house prices and mortgage rates in recent years.

“Conditions for potential first-time buyers, however, remain very difficult with problems raising the necessary deposit and concerns over the economic climate.”

He also said that first-time buyers have become increasingly reliant on extra help to give them a push onto the ladder.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) recently estimated that 65% of this sector of the market had financial assistance in mid-2012, compared with 31% seven years earlier.

First-time buyers in London put down the largest average deposit, at £62,356, while those in the north put down the smallest, at £14,936.

The average deposit needed across the UK is £27,984.

The average house price paid by a first-time buyer increased slightly to £139,921 in 2012 – representing a 3% rise compared with 2011.