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Number of first time buyers in London at five year high

First-time buyer figures in Scotland at their highest in four years

The number of first-time buyers in London rose by 15 per cent in 2012, marking the largest annual total since 2007, say new figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

Overall, 37,300 first-time buyers bought a home in London in 2012, up from 32,400 in 2011, their mortgage payments on average costing 21 per cent of their income. Half of all first-time buyers in London bought properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000. This was a similar proportion to the UK at 47%, but first-time buyer activity was significantly different for properties priced below £125,000 and above £250,000.

CML director general Paul Smee said: "These figures show that first-time buyers in London are regaining their confidence and returning to the market. Even though property in London remains more expensive than in the rest of the UK, low interest rates and the increased availability of high loan-to-value mortgages for borrowers with smaller deposits has enabled more aspirational homeowners to enter the market than any time in the last five years."

The number of first-time buyers in Scotland rose to the largest annual total in four years, with 19,000 first-time buyers becoming homeowners in 2012, a 13 per cent increase over 2011. In Northern Ireland 5,100 first-time buyers entered the market in 2012, up from 4,700 in 2011.

Numbers were also up in Wales where 8,700 loans were made to first-time buyers in 2012, a rise of 5 per cent compared to 2011.