The latest Halifax First-Time Buyer review has been published and shows that, contrary to some beliefs, the numbers of 1st Time Buyers has increased to a 10 year high.
Halifax stated that in 2016 there were 335,750 first timers which is up 7.3% on the previous year and the highest figures since the Financial Crisis in 2007, although they are still 17% below the 2006 peak.
They also reported that the average price of a first home was over £205,170, the first time they have been over £200,000 and that the average First-Time Buyer deposit had doubled to £32,321.
Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis says: “The number of buyers getting on the housing ladder exceeded 300,000 for the third year in succession – a welcome boost for current homeowners, house builders and the government.”
Whilst this is all of course positive news, there is a lot more work to be done to ensure that the right type of properties are available and more importantly affordable, for future First-Time Buyers. They have undoubtedly been helped by the prevailing low interest rate environment which makes the monthly payments themselves often more affordable than renting, as well as the proliferation of various Government Schemes, but this will not last forever.
At present the concern is still that the targets set on house building look difficult to attain as things stand, with supply remaining constrained, especially in high demand areas.
We await the Housing White Paper with bated breath and hope that a sensible long-term plan is put into effect that addresses the needs of all parts of the housing market; owner occupiers, the private rental sector and social housing. We need all these areas to be working well and in harmony in order to enjoy a healthy, sustainable housing market.