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More than 350,000 first-time buyers got on property ladder last year

By Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

More than 350,000 people took their first step on the property ladder last year, according to a trade association.

Mortgage lending figures from UK Finance show there were 351,450 first-time buyers across 2019.

The total across the UK was slightly down on 2018, when there were 353,130 first-time buyer mortgages, which was the highest annual total since 2007.

Despite the year-on-year dip, the number of first-time buyers purchasing homes last year was still higher than levels seen between 2008 and 2017, UK Finance said.

First-time buyers now make up around half (50%) of people buying a home with a mortgage and their average age is just under 32.

There were 29,490 new first-time buyer mortgages completed in December 2019, slightly up by 0.3% compared with the same month in 2018.