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First-time buyer numbers in the UK are at their highest level in more than a decade. New figures from the Halifax show that the number of first timers on to the property ladder rose by 3 percent in the first six months of this year, up to 175,500 compared to 171,200 in 2017.

This is the sixth increase in first-time buyers in the last seven years, and the third year on the trot that the numbers of those purchasing a home for the first time have gone past 150,000.

The figures were revealed in the Halifax’s House Price Index for August, the monthly report that looks at property transactions and prices across the UK.

The peak for first-time buyer numbers was 2006 when 190,900 bought in the first six months of that year. The 2018 figures are now just 8 percent below that high.

In 2009, first-time buyer numbers had dropped to a record low of 72,700. This was the first year after the 2008 financial crash and subsequent credit crunch when lenders introduced much tougher lending criteria and pushed many potential homeowners out of the market.

More than half of all property bought with a mortgage (51 percent) in 2018 has been bought by a first-time buyer, says the Halifax.

The bank says the main reason for the boost to first-time buyers has been the introduced of Help to Buy – 81 percent of total property purchases in 2018 were made using one of the government-backed scheme’s options.

In its First-Time Buyer Review in August, Halifax said first-time buyers are now paying an average £208,741 for their initial purchase, from £172,659 a decade ago, a rise of 21 percent.