First time buyer numbers reach new high point

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

​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.

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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."