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First-time buyers have been warned against over-stretching themselves to get on the property ladder as prices rise seven times faster than wages.

The average price paid by first-time buyers rose 6.4% in the year to November, compared to a 0.9% rise in the average salary over the past 12 months.

First-time buyer prices are also rising faster than prices paid by existing homeowners, which rose 5.1% over the year.

The average first-time buyer now pays £187,000, some £14,000 more than a year ago

This is equivalent to 7.5 times average salary.

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “Help to Buy has lit the blue touch paper in the mortgage market, and lending is now at a six-year high.

“The supply of new homes has been slow to react, which has pushed house prices up artificially quickly.

"First-time buyers are bearing the brunt of this rise. They are being forced to scramble over the small supply of affordable properties left, and all the while rising prices are driving their monthly repayments higher.

"We desperately need more construction in order to prevent the bottom of the market being priced out entirely.”

Legal & General Mortgage Club has warned borrowers against sleep walking into higher mortgage repayments, after publishing figures showing a rate rise of just 0.5% would plunge many borrowers into difficulty.

It would increase the repayment on the average £150,000 mortgage by £62.50 a month, or £750 a year.

Director Jeremy Duncombe said: '“Borrowers can’t afford to be complacent. Lenders will price in a change in base rate well in advance of any decision to increase and therefore the historically low rates we have seen in recent times are not going to be around for long.

"Borrowers should look at their options and talk to an advisor to tie down a more favourable deal while they still can.”


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