Monday, 25 July 2016
The number of first time buyers in the UK increased by an estimated 10% in the first six months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015, according to new research.
Overall there were an estimated 154,200 first time buyers in the first half of 2016 compared with 140,500 in the same period last year, the data from the Halifax first time buyer review shows, more than double the market low in the first half of 2009.

For the same six month period since 2012, the number entering the housing market has exceeded 100,000. However the number of first time buyer in the first half of 2016 was nearly a fifth lower, 36,700, than at the peak of the last boom in 2006.

The report also shows that the number of first time buyers has increased more rapidly than the number of home movers over the past few years as a whole. As a result first time buyers have increased as a proportion of all mortgage financed house purchasers from 38% in 2011 to an estimated 47% in 2016.

However, the percentage has been stable over the past three years as the numbers of first time buyers and home movers have risen at a similar pace since 2014.

The average first time buyer deposit in May 2016 was £33,960, more than double that in 2007 when it was £16,400 and the report points out that there has been a 14% rise in the deposit over the past year largely reflecting the increase in house prices over that period.

The 10 least affordable Local Authority Districts (LADs) for first time buyers are all in London. The least affordable is Brent where the average first time buyer property price of £457,014 is 12.5 times gross average annual earnings in the area.

East Dunbartonshire in Scotland is the most affordable LAD in the UK with an average property price of £97,089, some 2.6 times local annual average gross earnings. Copeland in the North West is the next most affordable and five of the 10 most affordable LADs for first time buyers are in Scotland.

‘There was a further increase in the number of first time buyers in the first half of the year with the total exceeding 100,000 in the first six months of each year since 2012. This rise has been broadly in line with a general improvement in market activity and is likely to have been helped by government measures including the Help to Buy scheme,’ said Chris Gowland, mortgages director at the Halifax.

‘Although numbers remain below their previous peaks and many potential first time buyers are facing escalating house prices and deposit sizes, record low mortgage rates continue to make buying seem a more attractive option than renting,’ he added.

The research also shows that the average price paid by first time buyers increased by 12% over the past year from £178,399 to £199,414. Regionally, the average price paid by first time buyers is highest in Greater London at £384,617 which is nearly £130,000 higher than the next most expensive region, the South East at £257,481.

Northern Ireland is the least expensive region with an average first time buyer price of £110,675, some 29% of the London average.

The average deposit has fallen as a proportion of the purchase price from 20% in 2013 to 17% in 2016 but it remains significantly higher than in 2007 when it was 10%.