According to the society, the number of people buying their first home with a mortgage has exceeded 300,000 in five of the last six years, suggesting the market is returning to pre-financial crisis levels where in 2006, there were 400,870 first-time buyers and in 2007 there were 357,590.
The data showed 353,436 first-buyers secured a mortgage in 2019 compared to 191,040 in 2008, when the financial crisis began. Those entering the property market accounted for 51 per cent of all homes purchased in 2019 while in 2008 this share was 38 per cent.
The society has based its market analysis on data obtained by UK Finance up to October 2019, and estimated the figures for November and December.
London and South East drive
London and the South East are the most popular regions for first-time buyers accounting for 12 per cent and 20 per cent of sales respectively. Furthermore, first-time buyers make up 60 per cent of all house purchases with a mortgage in London even though the average deposit is £131,000.
Nitesh Patel, strategic economist at Yorkshire, said: “Even though the number of first-buyers has stayed pretty much the same as last year, it is still encouraging to see first-time buyers top 350,000 for the second year in a row.
“They also represent over half of all homes bought with a mortgage, meaning the first-time buyer mortgage market share is at its highest since 1995, when they bought 53 per cent of all mortgage-financed homes.”
Rising prices leading to plateau
He added: “First-time buyer numbers may now be plateauing as property prices have grown at a faster rate than salaries over the past 12 years.
“These figures show the market may have now reached its peak and buying your first home still remains tough for many.”