Number of people getting on housing ladder is highest since 2007, report finds

The number of people taking their first step on the property ladder across 2017 was the highest in a decade, despite deposit sizes having doubled over that time, a report has found.

There were an estimated 359,000 first-time buyers across the UK in 2017, taking levels nearly back to 2007, when 359,900 people made the jump on to the property ladder, according to Halifax.

But first-time buyers now need to find an average deposit of £33,339 - a 91% increase compared with £17,740 a decade ago, the research found, reflecting house price growth in recent years as well as people putting down bigger percentages of the house price.

In London, first-time buyers face needing an average deposit of £112,604.

The average age of a first-time buyer across the UK in 2017 was 31, two years older than a decade ago.

The latest Halifax First-Time Buyer Review found the number of first-time buyers increased by 6% annually in 2017.

First-time buyer numbers have bounced back compared with a low point of 192,3002 in 2008 and are now just 11% below a recent peak of 402,800 in 2006.

First-time buyers now account for nearly half (49%) of all house purchases with a mortgage, compared with just over a third (36%) a decade ago.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax said: "A flow of new buyers into home ownership is vital for the overall wellbeing of the UK housing market.

"This 10-year high in the number of first-time buyers shows continued healthy movement in this key area despite a shortage of homes and the ongoing challenge of saving enough of a deposit."

He said low mortgage rates and first-time buyer schemes have helped the sector become a much bigger segment of the market.

Copeland in Cumbria was identified by Halifax as the most affordable district in the UK, with an average property price equating to 2.9 times the local average gross annual earnings.

Scotland dominated the list of the most affordable areas for first-time buyers, while London made up the least affordable top 10.

The least affordable area was identified as Brent, where the average first-time buyer property price is 12.9 times gross average annual earnings.

Housing minister Dominic Raab said it was good to see more people getting on to the housing ladder.

He said: "Our initiatives such as Help to Buy have helped over 440,000 families on to the housing ladder since 2010.

"This comes on top of the latest data from the National House Building Council showing the highest number of new homes registered to be built for a decade."

Here are the numbers of first-time buyers in 2017 across the UK, according to Halifax:

North East, 16,430
Yorkshire and the Humber, 30,003
North West, 38,263
East Midlands, 27,309
West Midlands, 31,529
East Anglia, 12,696
Wales, 16,196
South West, 29,399
South East, 69,326
London, 42,983
Northern Ireland, 9,410
Scotland, 35,577

And here are average first-time buyer house prices and deposits in cash and percentage terms by region, according to Halifax:

North East, £126,437, £18,435, 15%
Yorkshire and the Humber, £139,970, £20,678, 15%
North West, £149,990, £22,148, 15%
East Midlands, £163,005, £24,462, 15%
West Midlands, £168,627, £25,378, 15%
East Anglia, £207,103, £35,463, 17%
Wales, £139,875, £18,596, 13%
South West, £205,333, £36,289, 18%
South East, £278,749, £51,457, 18%
London, £422,580, £112,604, 27%
Northern Ireland, £120,648, £17,636, 15%
Scotland, £140,010, £21,460, 15%

Here are the 10 least affordable districts for first-time buyers, with the house price to average earnings ratio, according to Halifax:

1. Brent, London, 12.9
2. Newham, London, 12
3. Haringey, London, 11.5
4. Hackney, London, 11.3
5. Harrow, London, 11.2
6. Hillingdon, London, 10.9
7. Waltham Forest, London, 10.8
=8. Lambeth, London, 10.7
=8. Southwark, London, 10.7
10. Ealing, London, 10.5

And here are the 10 most affordable districts for first-time buyers, with the house price to average earnings ratio, according to Halifax:

1. Copeland, North West, 2.9
2. Stirling, Scotland, 3
=3. North Ayrshire, Scotland, 3.1
=3. Pendle, North West, 3.1
=5. Inverclyde, Scotland, 3.2
=5. West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, 3.2
=5. Renfrewshire, Scotland, 3.2
=8. East Ayrshire, Scotland, 3.4
=8. South Ayrshire, Scotland, 3.4
=8. North Lanarkshire, Scotland, 3.4