Number of first-time buyers hits 10-year high

Helen Cahill
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First-time buyers are opting for longer mortgage terms (Source: Getty)

The number of first-time buyers has reached a 10-year high last year.

According to Halifax, there were 335,750 first-time buyers in 2016, up 7.3 per cent on the year before, but still well below the pre-crisis peak of 402,800 in 2006.

The average age of a first-time buyer was 30, and they spent an average £205,170 in the UK. The average in London, however, was nearly double that at £402,692. Prices for first-time buyers have risen 81 per cent in the last eight years. In 2009, the average price for a first-time buyer was £180,273.

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With house prices sky-rocketing, its no surprise that first-time buyers are opting for longer mortgage terms. In 2006, two-thirds of first-time buyers chose a mortgage term of between five and 25 years. Last year, just 40 per cent of first-time buyers fell into this bracket.

There is, however, a silver lining. Rock-bottom mortgage rates mean that people who can get onto the housing ladder are losing less of their disposable income servicing the debt. First-time buyers spent 32 per cent of their disposable incomes on mortgage payments in 2016, significantly lower than the 50 per cent they were paying in 2007.

And, Halifax data has also shown that the rate of house price growth is slowing.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "First-time buyers play a crucial role in the housing market, and each transaction has an impact further up the chain, as well as helping to drive levels of housebuilding."

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