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First-time buyers: UK's most affordable places to buy a home

first-time buyer  A mural of the Virgin Mary is seen on a house in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast, Northern Ireland July 10, 2011.    REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton (Northern Ireland - Tags: SOCIETY)
Northern Ireland was the most affordable place for a first-time buyer to get a house last year. Photo: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

The average UK house price for first-time buyers jumped 13% to £302,010 last year, with more than six in 10 going joint to get on the property ladder.

The number of first-time buyers fell by 11% to 362,461 in 2022 compared to the year prior, according to new analysis from Halifax.

Northern Ireland remained the most affordable place to buy a house last year, with average prices hovering around £171,425, followed by the North East region, were houses cost on average £175,091.

On the higher end of scale, unsurprisingly, was London, where the average house cost £518,900. The deposit alone for a house in the capital was £125,378 on average ⁠— which was almost enough to buy you a house somewhere else in the UK.

Read more: UK house sales slip 3% in December as rising mortgage rates bite

The East of England came in as the second most expensive region, as average prices stood at £336,710.

Scotland had the highest jump in the amount required for a deposit, increasing 8% from £38,468 to £41,442 last year.

First-time buyers: average price and deposit by nations and regions. Table: Halifax
First-time buyers: average price and deposit by nations and regions. Table: Halifax

Almost two thirds (63%) of mortgage completions are now in joint names ⁠— with two or more people ⁠— as rising mortgage rates and steep deposits make it harder to break into the property market alone.

“Over 362,000 people got on the property ladder in 2022, with first-time buyers now accounting for over half of all home loans. Today, getting your own place for the first time will likely mean paying over £300,000 for that new home, and putting down, on average, a £62,000 deposit,” Kim Kinnaird, mortgages director at Halifax, said.

“The overall level of first-time buyers remains high, with the total number securing a home in 2022 higher than in any year other than 2021 ⁠— where we saw record demand ⁠— and prior to that, the peak seen in 2006.

“Buyers looking to make their first step onto the property ladder may welcome the forecasted fall in house prices this year ⁠— providing the supply is there. Nonetheless, the cost of purchasing a home is still significant and saving for a deposit can be challenging for some first-time buyers.”

The number of first-time buyers fell across all nations and regions last year, compared to the record highs seen in 2021.

The greatest falls last year were in the South East, South West, Wales and Northern Ireland, all dropping by 12%, an expected decline considering the very high demand seen in these areas in 2021.

The East Midlands saw the smallest fall, relative to the rest of the UK, with the number of first-time buyers down 7%.

Read more: Mortgage costs expected to rise this year, says Bank of England

The average deposits stood at 21% of purchase price. In cash terms, this means an average £62,470 deposit is being raised by those buying their first home ⁠— up 8% on 2021.

“The length of time needed, and cost of, raising a deposit are likely having an impact on the profile of the average first-time buyer over time. Today, those starting out on the housing ladder are 32 years old, on average ⁠— two years older than a decade ago ⁠— and almost two-thirds of people are now getting their first mortgage in joint names,” Kinnaird added.

Despite these significant sums, first-time buyers now account for over half (52%) of all loans on homes ⁠— the highest in the last decade.

Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?