6 Jan

First-time buyers 'could help lead housing recovery'

First-time buyers 'could help lead housing recovery'

A situation where housing became more accessible to first-time buyers could see that group lead a major recovery in the market, it has been calculated.

Commenting on Nationwide's latest house price figures, the lender's chief economist Fionnuala Earley stated that the near future is hard to predict because there is so much uncertainty about how market conditions will develop over 2009.

However, she noted, a large pool of pent-up demand from first-time buyers may play a major part in generating a recovery due to cheaper prices.

Ms Earley observed that as many as 750,000 would-be first-time buyers have been excluded from the market by high prices since 2003, noting: "Since then, first-time buyers have made up only 33 per cent of transactions, compared to an average of 46 per cent since 1979."

The Nationwide figures showed a house price fall of 2.5 per cent in December and 15.9 per cent over the course of 2008.

Halifax produced comparable data last week, showing a December dip of 2.2 per cent and an annual decline of 16.2 per cent.
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