First-time buyers in Northern Ireland need average deposit of £16,500 says report.
FIRST-time buyers make up nearly half of all house purchases financed by a mortgage - and those in Northern Ireland taking their first step on the property ladder need to put down an average deposit of nearly £16,500, a report has found.
During the first half of 2017, some 47 per cent of all house purchases with a mortgage across the UK were made by first-time buyers, according to the Halifax First-Time Buyer Review.
But the average price paid for a first home is at a record high of £207,693, Halifax found.
The average first-time buyer deposit put down in the first six months of 2017 was £32,899 - equating to 16 per cent of the purchase price.
In London, first-time buyers need to put together a deposit of £106,577 typically, or 26 per cent of the average price of a home.
First-time buyers in Northern Ireland put down the lowest deposits in cash terms on average, at £16,457.
That is 14 per cent of the average house price in the north of £117,716 under Halifax's calculations (its used figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Office for National Statistics for its research).
Across the UK, the number of first-time buyers reached an estimated 162,704 in the first six months of 2017, which is only 15 per cent below a peak seen in the last boom in 2006, Halifax said.
Schemes such as Help to Buy, combined with low mortgage rates, have given aspiring home owners a helping hand in recent years.
The proportion of first-time buyers has grown from 44 per cent since the launch of Help to Buy in 2013, Halifax said.
There are also signs of first-time buyers stretching their loans out for longer, beyond the traditional 25-year term, to cover higher house prices.
In 2016, more than half (56 per cent) of their mortgage terms were for 25 to 35 years. In 2007 just over a third (38 per cent) of first-time buyer mortgages were for between 25 and 35 years, Halifax said.
Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said that for the third time in four years the numbers getting on the housing ladder in the first half of the year have exceeded 150,000 - "a level of momentum not seen since before the financial crisis".
He said: "High levels of employment, low mortgage rates and government schemes such as Help to Buy have also helped these numbers remain robust, as first-time buyers continue to form a fundamental part of the UK housing market."