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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

First-time buyer sales top 300,000 in 2015

The number of first-time buyers topped 300,000 in 2015 for the second year in a row, new figures show.

This is a slight decline from 311,700 in 2014 but numbers have still grown 60% from 193,700 in 2011.

Last year’s dip is in line with general residential house purchases, and is partly due to lack of supply, according to the annual Halifax First-Time Buyer Review.

The figures also show that first-time buyers accounted for almost half of all house purchases made with a mortgage in 2015.

More than a quarter of first-time buyers are now opting for a 35-year mortgage to their payments more affordable.

The average price paid by first-time buyers increased by 10% in 2015, from £172,5632 to £190,180.

This takes the price above the 2007 peak of £174,994 for the first time.

The average deposit paid by a first-time buyer 13% higher than a year ago at £32,927, up from £29,094.

This is 88% higher than the average deposit in 2007 at £17,499.

Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “Although the average price of the typical first-time buyer home has grown by 10% in the past year, the number of buyers taking that first step onto the housing ladder has been supported by favourable economic conditions; namely, record low mortgage rates, rising employment and real pay growth.”

First-time buyers are an increasingly important part of the housing market, accounting for for 46% of all house purchases made with a mortgage in 2015, the same as in 2014.

McKinlay added: "Whilst affordability has improved since 2007, in many parts of the country the ratio of the average house price to earnings is still significantly above the long-term average of 4.0. This is a concern as it could prevent many potential buyers from entering the market."

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