The number of First Time Buyers has more than doubled since dropping to a record low of 72,700 in the first half of 2009, and is now just 8% lower than at the peak of the last boom in 2006 (190,900).
The number of first-time buyers increased by around 3% in the first six months of 2018 to 175,500 compared with 171,200 in the same period in 2017, according to research from the Halifax.
This is the sixth increase over a comparable period in the last seven years and the third consecutive year that first-time buyer numbers have topped 150,000.
The growth in first-time buyers means they have increased as a proportion of all mortgage financed house purchasers from 38% in 2008 to more than half (51%) in 2018. This share has picked up since 2013 when the Help to Buy Scheme was introduced, which has given 128,317 first-time buyers (81% of total purchases under the scheme) a step on to the housing ladder over this period.
House prices in the three months to August increased by 3.7% against the same period a year earlier with the average house showing little change from last month at £229,958.
On a monthly basis, prices remained steady, seeing a small rise of 0.1% in August, while in the latest quarter (June-August) prices were 1.9% higher than in the preceding three months (March-May 2018).
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said, “While the pace of employment growth has recently slowed, a low unemployment rate and a gradual pickup in wage growth are helping to support household finances. This has been accompanied by interest rates still remaining at a historically low rate and a stable, yet constrained, supply of new homes onto the market further supporting house prices.
On a monthly basis, sales fell by 0.8% between June and July to 99,270. In the three months to July sales increased by 2.1% from the previous three months. The volume of residential transactions has been broadly flat over the past year and is likely to remain so in the coming months, according to HMRC data.
The housing market was broadly stable last month with the number of new instructions remaining flat in July with new buyer enquiries also broadly stable.
Alex Depledge, Founder & CEO, Resi.co.uk, “With house prices remaining high, the market continues to be driven by a lack of supply. This is only fuelled further by rising construction costs, concerns over a diminishing workforce following Brexit and uncertainty around how the deal will impact the housing market, particularly in London.
“Innovation in the sector, beginning with the application of technology, to make home improvement easier to understand, control and most importantly afford, is desperately needed. With moving increasingly off the cards, homeowners need to be aware of the options available to them and feel supported through the process.”