You can get on the property ladder when you’re 27 in Carlisle – but you’ll need to be 34 in London, says Halifax
Rampant house price growth means the average first-time buyer in south-east England must wait seven years longer to get on the property ladder than those purchasing in more affordable areas.
Data released by Halifax show the average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is now 30 – a figure that has “not increased as much as some might expect”, says The Guardian, having risen from 28 in 1983.
However, that “masked a big gap between the ages at which people were able to buy in different parts of the country”, adds the paper.
In Carlisle and Torfaen, for example, where the average house costs £122,826 and £113,123 respectively, the average first-time buyer is 27. A typical property in these two districts is priced at around four to four-and-a-half times average local earnings.
“In contrast, in Ealing, west London, where the average age of a first-time buyer is 34, homes cost more than 10-and-a-half times earnings, at an average of £410,763,” says the Guardian.
That story is replicated across several areas in and around London, with the average age of those getting on the property ladder in south-east England more generally standing at 32.
Ultimately, house prices determine the variations in age. Halifax found the ten areas with the youngest first-time buyers “all have property prices below the national average of £200,754”.
While some expected first-time buyers to benefit in the wake of the Brexit vote, as economic uncertainty slowed activity and dragged house prices lower, so far the market appears to have proven surprisingly resilient.
The Council of Mortgage lenders yesterday said fears about the housing market after the referendum were “wide of the mark” as it reported a gross mortgage lending total for August of £22.5bn – the highest since 2007.
However, Mark Harris, the chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, suggested this was less to do with new buyers coming to market and more existing owners taking advantage of record low rates to remortgage.
He told the Guardian: “Much of our business – as much as 70 per cent – is remortgaging as borrowers look for some certainty while taking advantage of record low rates and snap up a cheap fixed deal.”