4 Jan

Home affordability 'has improved for first-time buyers'

Home affordability 'has improved for first-time buyers'

First-time buyers should find it easier to step on to the property ladder, according to the latest figures from Halifax.

The building society revealed that the average property price paid by a first-time buyer is now affordable for someone on average earnings in 39 per cent of the UK's local authority districts.

This compares favourably with 2007 statistics, when just six per cent of areas were accessible to people starting out in the property market.

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

However, he added that the tightening in lending criteria is making it difficult for some potential buyers to access the market and take advantage of the lower property prices and mortgage rates.

At the end of December, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported that more than half of buyers in 2009 benefited from the government's stamp duty holiday.

CML figures demonstrated that, in the first quarter of last year, 57 per cent of property purchasers did not have to pay stamp duty.ADNFCR-1222-ID-19538676-ADNFCR

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