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The cost of buying your first home soared in 2019

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As if it wasn't already hard enough to get on the property ladder, it became even more expensive in 2019
The cost of buying your first home soared in 2019

The cost of buying your first home rose significantly last year, according to Halifax.

The lender found that the average UK first-time purchase price rose 9% to £231,455 – a jump of £18,252.

And the average deposit leapt 7% to £46,187.

But the higher costs didn’t deter first-time buyers, with overall numbers remaining stable.

Most affordable

Burnley in the North West is now the most affordable area for local first-time buyers – calculated by comparing average earnings to average house prices – with a ratio of 3.1.

However, the vast majority of the top 10 most affordable areas are in Scotland and Wales (examples include North Ayrshire at 3.3 and Merthyr Tydfil at 3.4), with only Pendle in the North West (3.6) also making the cut.

The least affordable areas in the country are dominated by London, with Hackney recording a house price to earnings ratio of 12.1, followed by Brent (11.6) and Lambeth (11.1). Oxford (10.3) in the South East, is the only place outside London to make the top 10.

Overall, just 10 areas have become more affordable for first-time buyers over past decade.

FTBs still purchasing

Despite increasing costs and reduced affordability, the overall number of first-time buyers remains stable, up around 1% from 353,130 in 2018 to 356,767 in 2019. This means that first-time buyers continue to account for more than half of all home purchases.

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “Whilst price growth in the overall housing market has been modest in recent years, the level of inflation facing first-time buyers is greater, which compounds the challenge in raising bigger deposits.

“However, given their importance to the market as a whole, it’s reassuring that the overall number of new buyers getting on the ladder remains stable.

“This is in part explained by initiatives designed specifically to support this key group, including Help to Buy schemes and family support mortgages, and they also benefit from the continued period of record low interest rates. However, it’s clear that more needs to be done to address more fundamental long-term issues, not least the shortage of new, affordable homes being built.”

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