Mortgages  

First-time buyer numbers return to 2007 levels: Halifax

First-time buyer numbers return to 2007 levels: Halifax

Last year the number of first-time buyers grew by an estimated 22 per cent, similar to the 23 per cent increase in 2013 and taking the total volume of transactions back to levels last seen in 2007, according to a Halifax report.

The building society revealed it was the third successive annual increase in first-time buyers with a 50 per cent increase in the last two years. There were an estimated 326,500 first-time buyers in 2014, up from 268,500 in 2013.

This was the highest annual total since 2007 (359,900) and was 70 per cent more than in 2008 (192,300).

First-time buyers also increased their share of all house purchases made with a mortgage, accounting for 46 per cent in 2014, up from 44 per cent in 2013.

Halifax stated this showed mortgage affordability has improved significantly in recent years. The proportion of disposable earnings devoted to mortgage payments by a first-time buyer stood at 32 per cent in the third quarter of 2014.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, 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.

“Record low mortgage rates and government schemes such as Help to Buy have improved affordability, enabling more first-time buyers to buy their own property.”

emma.hughes@ft.com