The number of first-time buyers who managed to get on to Britain’s property ladder hit a ‘nine-year high’ in 2016, thanks to rising employment and favourable mortgage rates, a new study suggests.

Research from high street lender Halifax has found that as many as 335,750 first-time buyers purchased a property last year – the highest number recorded in any year since 2007.

However, the bank’s research also found that today’s first-time buyers are taking out longer mortgages – and are expected to raise far higher deposits – than those from nine years ago.

The study found that 60 per cent of all new mortgages taken out in 2016 were for 25 years or more, compared with only 36 per cent in 2007.

Meanwhile, with the average ‘first home’ valued at around £200,000, would-be homeowners now need to raise approximately £32,000 for an average deposit, up from just £15,000 in 2007, Halifax has said.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said that the research painted a “contrasting picture” across different regions of the UK.

“In London – which has one of the youngest populations in the UK – the average house price for a typical first-time buyer is now more than an eye-watering £400,000 with an average deposit of over £100,000 – more than twice that in the South East, the next most expensive region,” he said.