FTB transactions highest since 2007
There were 326,500 transactions recorded in 2014, up from 268,500 in 2013 but still below the 359,900 recorded in 2007.
First-time buyer purchases accounted for 46% of all house purchases with a mortgage in 2014, up from 44% in 2013.
Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “First-time buyers are vital for a properly functioning housing market.
“Improving economic conditions and rising employment levels have boosted confidence among those thinking about getting on to the housing ladder for the first time, contributing to the significant increase in the number of first-time buyers in the past two years.
“Record low mortgage rates and government schemes such as Help to Buy have improved affordability, enabling more first-time buyers to buy their own property.”
Mortgage affordability has improved in recent years, as the proportion of disposable income devoted to mortgage payments stood at 32% in Q3 2014 compared to a peak of 50% in the summer of 2007.
The size of the average deposit also fell by 7% from 2013 to stand at £29,218 in 2014 – helped by the greater availability of high loan to value mortgages.
According to Halifax first-time buyers have saved an average £781 on Stamp Duty since Chancellor George Osborne reformed the tax in the Autumn Statement.