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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

First-time buyers account for half of mortgages

First-time buyers accounted for nearly half of all mortgage-financed house purchases in the first half of this year.

New figures from Halifax show they have accounted for 47% for mortgage-funded purchases, up from 38% in the first half of 2011.

There were an estimated 139,500 first-time buyers in the first six months of 2015, according to the latest Halifax First-Time Buyer Review.

This was down from 149,500 last year, but was otherwise the highest total for the first six months of the year since 2007.

And it was 92% higher than the market low of 72,700 recorded in the first half of 2009.

The number of first-time buyers has increased more rapidly than other buyers over the past few years, up from 38% in 2011 to 47% in 2015.

The recent changes to the stamp duty system have saved the average FTB £716, reducing the tax bill for someone buying the average priced FTB property of £178,370 from £1,783 to £1,067.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “There was a modest decline in the number of first-time buyers in the first half of the year following the substantial increases recorded in 2013 and 2014.

“This fall has been in line with the general softening in market activity.

“However, there are now signs of a pick-up in mortgage activity as the economy continues to recover and mortgage interest rates remain at very low levels.

“These factors could boost the number of first-time buyers during the second half of the year.”

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