139,500 new first-time buyers have stepped on to the ladder so far in 2015

Posted 3 July 2015 by Stephen Maunder

139,500 first-time buyers climbed on to the property ladder in the first six months of 2015, a 7% decrease compared to the same period last year. The data, compiled by Halifax, also shows that first-time buyers amount to 47% of all mortgage-financed house puchasers.

The average deposit for a first-time buyer in May 2015 was £29,842, up 6% on last year, while changes to the stamp duty system have allowed those purchasing their first property to save an average of £716. In London, the average saving is a whopping £3,154. 

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, commented: “There was a modest decline in the number of first-time buyers in the first half of the year following the substantial increases recorded in 2013 and 2014. This fall has been in line with the general softening in market activity. However, there are now signs of a pick-up in mortgage activity as the economy continues to recover and mortgage interest rates remain at very low levels. These factors could boost the number of first-time buyers during the second half of the year.”
 

Additional key findings
 

Prices

  • The average price paid increased by 8% over the past year from £165,829 to £178,370.
  • The average price is highest in Greater London (£342,313); more than £100,000 more than the next most expensive region, the South East (£225,383).

Deposits

  • Average deposits, as a proportion of purchase price, have fallen from 20% in 2013 to 17% in 2015.
  • First-time buyers in Greater London put down the largest average deposit, at £81,680, and those in Northern Ireland put down the smallest average deposit, at £16,011.

Age

  • The average age of a first-time buyer is 30 years old; up from 29 in 2011. London has the highest average age - 33 years old.

Affordability

  • In almost a quarter (22%) all of local authority districts (LADs) the house price paid by a first-time buyer in the 12 months to May 2015 was affordable for someone on average earnings – based on the ratio of the average house price to earnings being below the long-term average of 4.0. 
  • Inverclyde in Scotland is the most affordable local authority district in the UK with an average property price of £90,376; 2.9 times local average gross annual earnings. 
  • Nine of the ten least affordable LADs are in London. The least affordable is Hammersmith and Fulham, where the average first-time buyer’s property price of £613,347 is 11.7 times gross average annual earnings in the area.

Stamp duty

  • More than six in ten first-time purchases are above the £125,000 Stamp Duty threshold, with almost half (45%) of properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000, and only 16% of first-time purchases above £250,000.
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