UK house prices: Number of first-time buyers soar to highest level since the financial crash

The number of first-time buyers has reached pre-crisis levels (Source: Getty)

The number of first-time buyers soared to its highest level since 2007 last year, according to The Halifax.

Last year the number of first-time buyers rose to 326,500, up 22 per cent on 2013, representing the highest number of first-time buyers since the financial crash of 2008.

Halifax said the cost of putting down a deposit for first-time buyers dropped seven per cent last year from £31,582 to £29,218.

The lender attributed the rise in buyers to rock-bottom interest rates and controversial government schemes like Help-to-Buy. However, while Halifax said the initiative had helped it was important not exaggerate the impact.

Chancellor George Osborne's decision to reform the slab system that previously applied to rates of stamp duty saved the average first-time buyer £781. The average age of a first-time buyer climbed from 29 to 30. London had the country's oldest average buyer, with an age of 32.

The rise in real incomes, falling unemployment and strong growth have helped to expand the those able to afford their first home.

Halifax mortgages director Craig McKinlay said:

First-time buyers are vital for a properly functioning housing market.

Improving economic conditions and rising employment levels have boosted confidence among those thinking about getting on to the housing ladder for the first time, contributing to the significant increase in the number of first-time buyers in the past two years.

The average house price rose nine per cent in 2014 reaching £171,870.

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