First time buyer numbers reach new high point

Across the UK, there were 353,436 first-time buyers in 2019
Across the UK, there were 353,436 first-time buyers in 2019
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The number of people taking their first step on the property ladder is estimated to have reached its highest levels since 2007 last year.

​Across the UK, there were 353,436 first-time buyers in 2019, slightly up from the 353,130 recorded in 2018 and the highest annual total since 357,590 in 2007, according to calculations from Yorkshire Building Society.

​However, ​there is still some way to go before first-time buyer numbers reach 2006 levels, when the annual total stood at 400,870.

The society used industry-wide mortgage data from trade association UK Finance up to October 2019 and estimates for November and December 2019 to calculate the total number of first-time buyers last year.

Nearly twice as many first-time buyers secured a mortgage in 2019 as at the start of the financial crisis in 2008 (191,040), with those entering the property market now accounting for more than half (51​ per cent​) of homes purchased with a mortgage. In 2008 this share was just 38​ per cent​.

Yorkshire Building Society strategic economist Nitesh Patel said: "Even though the number of first-time buyers has stayed pretty much the same as last year, it is still encouraging to see first-time buyers top 350,000 for the second year in a row.

"They also represent over half of all homes bought with a mortgage, meaning the first-time buyer mortgage market share is at its highest since 1995, when they bought 53​ per cent ​of all mortgage-financed homes.

"In recent years first-time buyers have been helped by strong competition driving mortgage rates down to near-record lows, making borrowing more accessible."

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Today’s figures show that the Government is helping people get a foot on the housing ladder.

“In 2020 we will back local first-time buyers by providing a 30 per cent discount scheme on new homes and also introducing long-term fixed-rate mortgages.”