First-time buyers now account for more than half the UK mortgage-purchased market as numbers in the first half of 2018 reached the highest levels in a decade, despite continued price rises.
First-time buyers now make up 51 per cent of the market, with 175,500 in the first six months of 2018 - more than double 2009’s record low of 72,700.
The latest Halifax first-time buyer review found that as the number of buyers in this category rose, so did the average price of their properties.
The price of first-time buyer homes has risen by 21 per cent since 2008, with this year’s average reaching £208,741 - an increase more than double the 10 per cent rise over this period for all buyer types.
First-time buyers were putting down record deposits, with the average deposit now £33,127, an increase of 71 per cent from £19,364 in 2008.
In London, the average first-time buyer deposit is £114,952, which was 27 per cent of the purchase price and a three-fold increase from £38,335 in 2008.
Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said first-time buyers are having to dig deeper than ever to get onto the property ladder and suggested government schemes might be helping.
He said: "With the average price now over £200,000 and deposits at £33,000 it is not surprising that the average age of a first-time buyer has crept up to 31.
"Despite these increases, and the concern many young people feel about home ownership, the number of first-time buyers continues to grow and is nearly back to the peak seen of 2006."
Mr Galley, said government measures, such as Help to Buy, and record low mortgage rates continue to make buying more financially attractive than renting.
The average age of a first-time buyer in 2018 was 31 – two years older than a decade ago - and in London it had grown to 33 since 2008, the oldest in the UK.
Across Britain, the average price of first-time buyer properties outperformed the overall housing market.
First-time buyer performance followed regional trends across the housing market, with London witnessing the greatest increase in average prices over the past decade - growing 48 per cent to £419,608.
The Halifax review found first-time buyer's top priorities, aside from area and price, when looking to join the housing ladder were settling close to where they work, buying a home suitable for a future family and good transport links.