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First-time buyer affordability improves

First-time buyer affordability improves

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 04/01/2010
First Published: 04/01/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Affordability for first time buyers (FTBs) has improved considerably since 2007, with the proportion of areas now accessible to would-be home owners up more than sixfold.

A review of the market conducted by Halifax has revealed that the average price paid for a property by a FTB was affordable for someone on average earnings in almost four in ten (39 per cent) of local authority districts.

In 2007, just six per cent of areas were affordable. Furthermore, the proportion of disposable earnings devoted to mortgage payments by a potential FTB on average earnings has almost halved, from 50 per cent in June 2007 to 27 per cent last month.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "Housing affordability for potential first-time buyers has improved substantially over the past two years, due to a combination of lower house prices and reduced mortgage rates.

"Mortgage payments in relation to earnings are currently significantly below the average during the past 25 years."

Despite falling prices, some potential FTBs have found their route onto the property ladder blocked by tightened lending criteria.

There are signs, however, that the squeeze on lending is abating.

Industry figures show that the average deposit put down to secure a property by a FTB has not changed as a percentage of a purchase price since early 2009, following a marked increase in 2008.

In addition, figures from Moneyfacts indicate that the number of mortgage products increased over the last two thirds of 2009, up from 1,209 in April 2009 to 1,610 in December.

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