Brokers have given a mixed reaction to a claim by a leading mortgage lender that the outlook for first-time buyers (FTBs) is not as bleak as some national figures have suggested.
Halifax claimed the average age of an FTB is 33, but Mortgage Advice Bureau argues it is as low as 22 in some parts of the country. The group claims the top 10 regions for young FTBs for the three months from May to July 2003, included Crewe in Cheshire (23), Bradford in West Yorkshire (24), and Loughborough in Leicester (26).
Some brokers have slammed the figures saying FTBs are struggling to get on the market.
Lawrence Hayward, director at Leicester-based Moodybrook Financial Services Limited, said: “House prices are too high, meaning people tend to be older to command the salaries required to afford a property.”
John Burnard, principal at Loughbororugh-based New Life Financial Planning, agreed: “It is difficult for FTBs in Loughborough because of the buy-to-let market, where properties have been bought to rent to university students.”
However, Mike Fry, director at Cheshire-based Halton Insurance Service, agreed that FTBs are in their twenties. He said: “The average FTB is under 25 in our region, but you can buy a property for £50,000 which many couples could afford.”
Peter Brodnicki, chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “Certain areas of the country remain eminently affordable to FTBs and in these towns they are purchasing at ages far below the national average.”