Have you considered getting on the property ladder with a friend?

First-time buyers accounted for more than 50% of home loans in 2023, with over 60% on joint mortgages to secure a home.

  • Two out of three first-time buyers had joint mortgages in 2023 at 63%.

  • The average deposit paid was £53,414 – 19% of the purchase price

  • In 2023 Inverclyde in Scotland has been the most affordable place in the UK to step onto the housing ladder, while Islington in London is the least affordable

If you, like many others are finding it unreasonable to get on the ladder alone.

Halifax reports; almost two-thirds of first-time buyers now buy jointly, an increase from 48% of first-time-buyers in 2016.

Pairing up isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for achieving financial and housing security, however it can ease the process.

For many first-time-buyers in the current housing market there seem to be few alternatives beyond doubling your salary or being given alternative support.

The optimum situation would be one where wages and house prices matched up enough, especially in the South-East so that first-time-buyer would be able to afford homes without a partner.

Equally many people will at some point choose to buy with a romantic partner because they want to live with them.

Buying with friends also doesn’t always work out if the parameters of how you will both move on are not agreed upon from the start as you may find you could end up selling at a loss should your buying partner require to move quickly to relocate for work or marriage.

Terraced homes most popular among first-time buyers

The average price for a first-time buyer home fell 5% from its peak in 2022 to £288,136.

House prices for first-time buyers remain over £132,000 (86%) more expensive than a decade ago.

Halifax’s research also revealed that terraced homes were the most sought-after type of property for first-time buyers in 2023, making up 30% of all first-time buyer mortgages.

But their popularity has faded over the last decade, with the number of first-time buyers snapping up a terraced home dropping by 7% compared with 2013.

Flats, on the other hand, have risen in popularity. The number of first-time buyers purchasing a flat over the last 10 years has climbed by 6%, increasing in every region throughout the UK.

The most affordable places to get on the housing ladder?

First-time buyers should look to Scotland to boost their chances of homeownership. Many of the most affordable places to buy a first home are in Scotland, said the lender.

Inverclyde was crowned the most affordable area last year, where properties were around 2.6 times the average salary (£41,598).

At the other end of the spectrum, London was home to some of the least affordable places to get onto the housing ladder. Properties in Islington, north London, at 10.6 times the average salary (£57,548).

To put these figures into wider context, average property values for first-time buyers are around 6.7 times the average UK salary (£43,257), according to Halifax.

Kim Kinnaird, director, Halifax Mortgages said: ‘Following a record year in 2021, unsurprisingly in view of the wider economic environment, the number of first-time buyers joining the property market fell again in 2023 to around 293,000.

‘Despite this drop, new buyers made up over half of all home loans. However, to get a foot on the ladder most people are now buying for the first time in joint names.

‘The overall fall in house prices we saw in 2023 will go some way to helping people get on the ladder for the first time – but these buyers are still dependent on a steady supply of properties in their price range, while they are faced with the continued pressure of saving for a deposit, when rent and living costs are high.’

What help is available for first-time buyers?

The good news is that there are a number of schemes designed to help first-time buyers.

The mortgage guarantee scheme allows buyers to purchase a home with just a 5% deposit. It has been extended until June 2025.

The First Home scheme offers first-time buyers discounts on new-build homes. Meanwhile, Shared Ownership allows buyers to buy a stake in a property and pay rent on the remainder.

The government is also understood to be considering a number of other ways to help first-time buyers.

‘First-time buyers have been hit especially hard by rising mortgage rates. The sub-4% deals we increasingly hear about are typically for those with equity levels of 40% or more,’ explained Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank.

‘The government is likely to offer first-time buyers more financial support ahead of the election this year given that housing is a key political battleground and based on the belief that homeowners are more likely to vote Conservative.’