The number of people taking their first step on to the property ladder hit an 11 year high in 2017, according to trade association, UK Finance.

Last year there were 365,000 first-time buyers in the UK – an increase of 7.4 per cent over the previous year and the highest number since 2006.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), house prices rose by 5.2 per cent in 2017 and the average home in the UK costs £226,756, with values rising faster than inflation.

Despite increasing house prices, more first-time buyers made it onto the market thanks to a number of innovative schemes, such as shared ownership, Lifetime ISAs and Help to Buy, as well as help with deposits from family members.

Data from UK Finance also showed that the average first-time buyer had a household income of £41,000 or more and was aged 30.

However, a separate study conducted by the Halifax has revealed that Londoners are being priced out of the property market, with the number of first-time buyers in the capital falling 26 per cent during the last decade. In comparison to the rest of the UK, the average price for a home in London is £422,580.

Last year the Government took the decision to scrap Stamp Duty Land Tax for first time buyers and it is hoped that this will help more people get on the market in 2018.

In comparison, the number of second steppers or those moving to a new property dropped by three per cent. The average home mover was aged 39 and had an annual income of £55,000.

Looking ahead, Paul Smee, Head of Mortgages at UK Finance, said: “2017 saw the number of first-time buyers reach its highest level in a decade, which is welcome news for those getting started on the housing ladder.

“But although the market remains competitive there is no room for complacency, with weaker December figures consistent with our market forecast of subdued growth this year.

“We are also seeing a less buoyant buy-to-let market, which continues to be impacted by recent tax and regulatory changes. This will continue to flatten gross lending volumes this year.”

The study also found that the number of new buy-to-let mortgages dropped by 17 per cent year-on-year. It is thought that this is a response to the changes to property tax, in particular, the restrictions on mortgage interest relief.

Associate, London
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