Number of first-time buyers reaches decade high

The number of first-time buyers has reached its highest level in a decade amid an overall cooling in the housing market, new figures from UK Finance have revealed.

In 2017 there were 365,000 first-time buyers, the highest number since 2006. This is an increase of 7.4% compared to 2016, or  a difference of around 25,000 first-time housing purchases, the trade association for banks and finance firms reported.

Monthly levels of mortgage lending for first-time buyers, home movers and buy-to-let purchases all fell in December, however. First-time buyers accounted for £5.1bn of new lending in the month, 1.9% down on the same period in 2016. The figure for home movers fell 3% to £6.5bn of new lending in December.

According to the FT, the industry body counts the UK’s three largest mortgage lenders – Nationwide, RBS and Lloyds – among its members, along with Barclays, Santander and HSBC.

Frances Clacy, research analyst at Savills, the estate agency, said the number of first-time buyers has been rising steadily since 2012, with the help of government policies such as the Help-to-Buy equity loan scheme.

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