The number of people buying their first property has hit the highest level since 2006, according to the latest property sale figures.
Data from UK Finance shows that a total of 365,000 first-time buyers purchased a property during 2017. This is an annual increase of 7.4 per cent from 340,000 in 2016, but still 17 per cent down on the 402,800 people who bought their first home in 2006.
Yet, despite these encouraging signs, the overall market is still cooling as was reported recently when Nationwide released their house price index at the end of 2017.
Commenting on the data, Paul Smee, Head of Mortgages at UK Finance, said:
“2017 saw the number of first-time buyers reach its highest level in a decade, which is welcome news for those getting started on the housing ladder. But although the market remains competitive there is no room for complacency, with weaker December figures consistent with our market forecast of subdued growth this year.
“We are also seeing a less buoyant buy-to-let market, which continues to be impacted by recent tax and regulatory changes. This will continue to flatten gross lending volumes this year.”
Incentives For First-Time Buyers
The rise in the number of first-time buyers getting into the property ladder comes shortly after the Government announced that stamp duty would be cut for first-time buyers. This was a move that was criticised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
However, given that the incentive was not announced until November 2017, it’s unlikely to have had time to really affect the market.
Therefore, the rise of the first-time buyer may have more to do with the general slow-down in prices making it easier for people to afford their first home, along with the other government-back incentives such as the Help To Buy scheme.