THE number of first-time buyers in Yorkshire is the highest in six years, according to new figures which suggest a return to pre-recession sales activity.
Nationally, the number of first-time buyers hit a six-and-a-half year high in March as the Government’s Help to Buy scheme enabled more people to secure a mortgage.
There were 31,400 first-time buyer sales last month, the highest monthly figure since August 2007.
In Yorkshire, the first three months of this year saw 6,400 first-time buyer sales - the highest quarterly number since 6,700 sales in the final three months of 2007.
The cheapest region for deposit size is Yorkshire where the average first-time buyer deposit was £15,280 in the first quarter of this year, half the UK average.
Proportionally, the average first-time buyer deposit in Yorkshire was worth just 14 per cent of the total property purchase price.
The findings come only a week after an apparently contradictory report by the Halifax warned that young people increasingly believe they may never own their own home. One in five young people said they had no desire to own their own home.
The first-time buyer figures are from Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services.
The data shows the average first-time buyer deposit fell 10 per cent to £23,802 over the twelve months to March.
It was the lowest first-time buyer deposit recorded in three years.
David Newnes, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, said: “The number of first-time buyers has returned to a pre-recession high, just in time for the one year anniversary of Help to Buy.
“More first-time buyers are seizing the opportunity to have a helping hand from the Government in putting together a deposit. Help to Buy has allowed the bottom of the market to stay buoyant, despite property prices increasing.”
The average first-time buyer purchase price has increased six per cent in the past year, equivalent to a jump of £7,781 since March 2013.
But despite those price rises, mortgage repayments have remained static as a proportion of income over the last twelve months, aided by falling mortgage rates.
The first-time buyer market “is continuing to thrive” as high loan-to-value lending grows as a proportion of overall lending, aided by Help to Buy, according to Your Move and Reeds Rains.
Mr Newnes added: “The bank of Mum and Dad is no longer the only go-to cash reserve for aspiring home-owners. Parents have seen their savings diminished by inflation and low interest rates. The government is stepping in to fill that void and help first-time buyers struggling to save for a deposit to get onto the ladder.
“There is an added benefit too. Extending the equity loan scheme will encourage more first-time buyers to opt for new builds. This goes some way to guarantee future demand for home-builders, thus encouraging them to develop more new projects. Even so, the scale of the home-building revival must be up-scaled, in order to give the next generation of would-be first-time buyers a fair opportunity to buy their own home.”
Last week’s Halifax report suggested that the British love affair with home ownership is showing signs of cooling, particularly among young people.
It warned that the future housing market could “come to a standstill” if first-time buyers dried up.