The number of first-time buyers rose to a seven year high – a jump of 25 per cent in one year alone, new figures suggest.
There were 30,000 first-time buyer sales in July, the highest number since August 2007, according to figures from LSL Property Services.
The average deposit paid also fell by as much as £3,000
The figures add to a mixed picture of the housing market that has emerged in recent weeks.
While the LSL study suggests there is still plenty of activity at the lower end of the market, recent figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest house price growth is beginning to slow overall – down from 10.4 per cent in May to 10.2 per cent in the year to June.
Meanwhile Nationwide reported a drop in mortgage lending this week, in the latest evidence suggesting the housing market is beginning to slow down.
Britain’s biggest building society said it lent £5.8 billion to homeowners in the three months to the end of June, compared with £6.4 billion in the same period last year.
LSL suggested the rise in the number of first-time buyers reflects a change in the fortunes of aspiring buyers, as improving economic conditions leave increasing numbers in a position where they can afford to buy.
A study found that property prices in County Durham had the biggest percentage jump still left to climb to reach their levels at the previous peak of the market.
The average asking price in County Durham stands at £114,554, which is 13.4 per cent below the typical amount requested by sellers in May 2008.
In Teesside and West Yorkshire, asking prices are still around 9.1 per cent below 2008 levels, while in the Isle of Wight they still have a 10.7 per cent climb.
All areas of London have seen asking prices increase by at least 30 per cent when compared with May 2008, Rightmove said.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: ‘While at a high level the South has out-performed the North, being able to dig underneath that courtesy of the millions of properties advertised on Rightmove since 2001 shows a really varied county versus county performance.’
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