First-time house buyers priced out

By Mark HeathFIRST-time homebuyers are being completely priced out of the housing market in East Anglia, a new survey has found.The survey, carried out by Halifax, claimed property in all of the region's towns was now priced out of reach to people looking to get a foot on the ladder.

By Mark Heath

FIRST-time homebuyers are being completely priced out of the housing market in East Anglia, a new survey has found.

The survey, carried out by Halifax, claimed property in all of the region's towns was now priced out of reach to people looking to get a foot on the ladder.

A region was classed as unaffordable if first-time buyers had to borrow more than 4.27 times the local average salary to purchase a home.


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The survey also found that people who did manage to buy their first home last year paid an average of £112,541 - up 17% from 2002.

Shane O'Riordain, the Halifax's general manager of group economics, said: "Affordability is clearly a serious issue for first-time buyers and one that shows no signs of abating in the near future.

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"First-time buyers will find the going tough again this year as house price growth continues, especially outside London."

But Colin Girling, press officer for the Suffolk branch of the National Association of Estate Agents, said the survey's results should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Mr Girling, an estate agent for 40 years, said while first-time buyers found it difficult, he estimated about 20% of sales went to people buying their first home.

"I think the survey gives far too general a situation. There is a problem in that a lot of first-time buyers can't find what they want at a price they can afford, but there are some first-timers out there buying," he added.

"I also think the lifestyle of first-time buyers is changing - people want to do other things rather than buy a house nowadays and it is a question of prioritising finances."

Mr Girling identified some towns and villages - including Stowmarket and Great Blakenham - as areas where first-time buyers could still get a foot on the property ladder.

"There are houses on the market that are certainly within the capacity of most first-time buyers. There are still places that they can buy, so to have a statement like in the Halifax survey isn't 100% true - but it is difficult for them," he added.

mark.heath@eadt.co.uk

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