House prices are still breaking records two years on from the beginning of the pandemic-driven property boom.
The average asking price climbed by 10pc to £375,501 in May, according to property website Rightmove, despite predictions inflation and rising interest rates would curb buyer appetite.
Asking prices are now £55,000 higher than when the pandemic began, compared to a £6,000 rise in the previous two years. Whilst house price growth is expected to slow, or even fall, later this year, the damage has already been done for first-time buyers and affordability is at a record low.
However, getting on the property ladder is not impossible. Lenders are competing hard for first-time buyers and mortgage rates for younger borrowers have not suffered the same sharp rise seen elsewhere in the market.
First-time buyers are also spared stamp duty, up to a property value of £300,000, which Lawrence Bowles of estate agency Savills said would give them an edge as competition cooled.
“The stamp duty relief is the biggest advantage first-time buyers have against the wider market and it is a double advantage against landlords, who need to pay a 3pc tax surcharge,” he said.
Savills analysed where first-time buyers had the best chance of buying in towns across England. The company examined locations in the top half of its deprivation index, which ranks areas by factors such as life expectancy and employment.
The city of Hull, in the historic county of East Riding of Yorkshire, is the most affordable location in the top half of Savills’ index. The average property here costs 4.8 times local average full-time earnings, compared to the national average ratio of 6.8. The average home costs £93,470 and the city has an employment rate of almost 61pc.