More people are getting on the property ladder than at any time since 2007, with 359,000 first-time buyers making a purchase in 2017.
New figures from Halifax reveal a sharp increase from the 339,600 people who bought their first home in 2016 and show 2017 levels were only just short of the 2007 peak of 359,900.
The average first-time purchase is now worth £278,749 compared with £199,894 ten years ago, while the age of an average first-time buyer has risen from 29 to 31 in the same period.
Kevin Shaw, national sales director at estate agents Leaders, says: “Market conditions have become significantly more favourable for first-time buyers in the last year and this is reflected in a sharp increase in the number of people buying their first home.
“The government’s decision to scrap stamp duty for first purchases of up to £300,000 has reduced the cost of getting on the ladder by thousands of pounds and made it a more realistic prospect for a huge number of people.
“In addition, low mortgage rates, high employment and Help to Buy have all supported young people in getting on the ladder. As such, I expect the trend for rising numbers of first-time buyers to continue through 2018 and beyond.
“First-time buyers are incredibly important to the overall housing market as they allow existing owners to sell up and take their second step. Despite a lack of supply, the fact first-time buyers are increasing in number is extremely positive.”
The greatest increase in first-time buyers between 2007 and 2017 was in Northern Ireland, which reported a 65 per cent rise, while the largest number overall was in the south-east (69,326).
For more information or advice on getting on the property ladder contact your local Leaders branch.