The latest First Time Buyer Review from Halifax, released in December, has reported that First-time buyer affordability is at an 8 year high. The First Time Buyer Review tracks housing affordability in over 240 local authority districts (including 30 London boroughs) across the UK.
Why then are first time buyer numbers at the “lowest since 1974”?
2011 saw an annual total of first time buyers at 187,000, a drop of 7 per cent compared to 2010 and less than half the number seen in 2006, almost 403,000.
The figures aren’t all doom and gloom though with affordability being cited as “the most favourable since 2003”.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, commented:
“Housing affordability for those looking to get onto the property ladder for the first time has improved significantly over recent years, largely as a consequence of the decline in house prices since 2007.
Nevertheless, conditions for potential first-time buyers remain tough. Difficulties raising the necessary deposit and concerns over the economic climate are preventing many from entering the market.”
The average deposit paid during 2011 was around £27,000 whereas 2007 saw an average deposit of £17,000.
The report shows that the most affordable area for first time buyers is South Ayrshire with the least affordable areas being Brent, London and Oxford.
The average house price for a first time buyer in 2011 was £135,160.00, 3 per cent lower than the average price in 2010. But the report showed that the North/South divide is still “stark” with the highest average price paid by a first time buyer in London, £240,768 and the lowest average price paid was in the North, £96,324.
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