Highest number of first-time buyers since 2007 says Halifax

First-time buyers spend a third of disposable income on mortgage payments

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The Independent Online

There were around 144,500 first- time buyers in the first six months of 2014, an increase of 25 per cent on the same period last year. This makes it the highest total for the same six months period since 2007, according to the latest figures from Halifax.

"First-time buyers are an important segment on the housing market," said Craig McKinlay, Mortgages Director at Halifax, "accounting for 46 per cent of home purchases in the first six months of the year, up from 44 per cent during the same period in 2013 and 40 per cent in 2012.

"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, which have helped more first-time buyers on to the housing ladder."

Almost two-thirds of all first-time buyer purchases in the first half of 2014 were above the £125,000 stamp duty threshold, compared to just over half a year earlier.

Nationally almost half of home purchases by first-time buyers were between £125,000 and £250,000, although there were considerable regional differences; nearly three-quarters of first-time buyers in the North bought a home below the lowest threshold and therefore paid no stamp duty compared to just 10 per cent in the South East.

Copeland in the north west is the most affordable local authority district in the UK with an average property price of £107,232, 2.72 times local average gross annual earnings. Unsurprisingly all ten least affordable LADs are in the capital with Hammersmith and Fulham topping the list with an average first-time buyer property price of £640,458, 12.3 times average earnings in the area.

The report also showed that

* The average first-time buyer deposit between April and June was £31,129, up from £28,463 a year earlier

* First-time buyers in Greater London put down the largest average deposit of £76,435 compared to the North West who put down the lowest (£16,532)

* The average price paid by first-time buyers is highest in Greater London (£306,354), followed by the South East (£203,826). The average price in the North is £110,410, making it the cheapest region to get on the housing ladder.

* The average age of a first-time buyer is 30, up from 28 in 2009