The average mortgage is twice as affordable for borrowers today than at the peak of the market boom in 2007.
According to research conducted by Halifax, lower house prices and record low interest rates mean that the typical mortgage payment for a new buyer is now nearly half what it was three years ago.
Average monthly mortgage repayments in June 2010 accounted for 28% of disposable income, compared to 50% in June 2007.
What’s more, since the Stamp Duty threshold for first-time buyers was increased to £250,000, 94% are now exempt from this payment.
However, more than 50% of aspiring first-time buyers today cite lack of affordability as the main obstacle to getting on the property ladder, with only 94,600 people purchasing their first home in the first half of 2010, compared with double that number in the corresponding period in 2007.
The lack of first-time buyer activity could be the result of tighter lending criteria meaning that lenders today demand bigger deposits and squeaky-clean credit records before agreeing to advance money to first-time buyers.
That said, Halifax points out that, while deposits in loan to value terms increased during 2008, the average deposit put down by a first-time buyer today has been unchanged as a percentage of purchase price since early in 2009.
Stephen Noakes, commercial director for mortgages, commented:
“We believe it’s important that first-time buyers understand that whilst there are still challenges in raising deposits, other market conditions are more positive. Affordability has significantly improved, meaning the amount of a typical first-time buyer’s monthly pay packet that needs to be dedicated to their mortgage is now below the 25 year average and importantly, despite perceptions, eight out of ten first-time buyer mortgages are approved.”