New evidence suggests that only high-earning first-time buyers are able to afford their first properties, leaving the rest behind.
The gap between the income of the average first-time buyer and the average UK earner has hit a post-recession high of £11,000, according to new research by mortgage insurer Genworth.
The gap was just £3,170 in 2000 and £7,505 in 2011.
This suggests that lower earners have been increasingly marginalised in the recent first-time buyer revival.
Genworth’s analysis of ONS and CML data found that the average first-time buyer earned £38,977 in 2015, some £11,332 higher than the average UK salary of £27,645.
This is the widest gap since the recession as access to homeownership has become increasingly exclusive.
The growing income gap has been driven by tighter lending criteria and rising house prices.
This makes it harder to get onto the property ladder without a high salary or support from a partner, family member or Government scheme.
In London the average salary supporting first-time buyer loans is almost £58,500 or 65% more than the UK average.
The capital has seen first time buyer incomes rise by 19.4%, compared with regional salary growth of just 1.3%.
Simon Crone, vice president for mortgage insurance – Europe at Genworth, said: “Even though the first-time buyer market appears, on the surface, to have recovered since the recession, our analysis suggests that homeownership is becoming more and more exclusive.
“The disconnect between first-time buyer incomes and average earnings is no longer limited to London and the South as it was 15 years ago, but can now be seen throughout the country.
“It is a worrying sign that even in an era of record low mortgage rates, the gap between average and first time buyer earnings has reached a new high.”