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First-time buyer numbers in the UK reached their highest level since 2007 last year.

Figures for newcomers to home ownership are slowly returning to the levels they reached before the financial crisis of 2007-09.

Yorkshire Building Society says the numbers of first-time buyers in 2019 reached an estimated 353,436.

That was up slightly from 2018’s 353,130 FTBs but is still the highest number since 2007.

FTBs make up half of all home buyers

More than half (51 percent) of all home buyers in 2019 were first-time buyers.

Yorkshire says the most expensive region for first-time buyers is London where they pay an average price of £415,618. The south-east is the next most expensive at £264,097.

And despite those high prices, London and the south-east are the two most popular regions for first-time buyers. London accounts for 12 percent of FTB sales with the wider south-east accounting for 20 percent.

First-time buyers are responsible for 60 percent of all house purchases in London where the average deposit required is £131,000.

Encouraging figures

Nitesh Patel, chief economist at the Yorkshire, said: “Even though the number of first-time buyers has stayed pretty much the same as last year, it is still encouraging to see first-time buyers top 350,000 for the second year in a row.

“They also represent more than half of all homes bought with a mortgage. That means the first-time buyer mortgage market share is at its highest since 1995, when they bought 53 percent of all mortgage-financed homes.

“First-time buyer numbers may now be plateauing as property prices have grown at a faster rate than salaries over the past 12 years.”