More than six in 10 first-time buyers go joint to get on housing ladder


25 January 2023

  • Number of first-time buyers higher than pre-pandemic levels, but 11% down on 2021’s record high
  • Joint first-time buyers now account for 63% of mortgage completions
  • Average house price for first-time buyers up 13%, to £302,010
  • First-time buyer average deposit now £62,470, up 8% on 2021
  • West Dunbartonshire is most affordable place to buy a first home


The number of first-time buyers fell by 11%, to 362,461, in 2022 compared to the year prior, according to new analysis from Halifax.

However, first-time buyer levels remained higher than pre-pandemic, with the number getting on the housing ladder in 2022 higher than any previous year, other than in 2006 and 2021’s record spike. In 2021, the ‘race for space’, pent up demand from the pandemic and government measures to ease Stamp Duty costs, led to a record number of first-time buyers getting the keys to their first home.

The analysis from Halifax also shows that almost two thirds (63%**) of mortgage completions are now in joint names (with two or more people).

Table 1: Number of first-time buyers in the UK

Year Number of first-time buyers Annual % change First-time buyers as % of all home purchase loans
2012 211,920 13% 40%
2013 258,210 22% 44%
2014 310,280 20% 46%
2015 298,190 -4% 46%
2016 328,500 10% 48%
2017 345,910 5% 49%
2018 353,120 2% 50%
2019 351,260 -1% 51%
2020 303,980 -13% 50%
2021 405,320 33% 48%
2022 362,461 -11% 52%

Sources: UK Finance and Halifax estimates* for 2022

Kim Kinnaird, Mortgages Director, Halifax said: “Over 362,000 people got on the property ladder in 2022, with first-time buyers now accounting for over half of all home loans. Today, getting your own place for the first time will likely mean paying over £300,000 for that new home, and putting down, on average, a £62,000 deposit.

“The overall level of first-time buyers remains high, with the total number securing a home in 2022 higher than in any year other than 2021 - where we saw record demand - and prior to that, the peak seen in 2006. Buyers looking to make their first step onto the property ladder may welcome the forecasted fall in house prices this year – providing the supply is there. Nonetheless, the cost of purchasing a home is still significant and saving for a deposit can be challenging for some first-time buyers.

“The length of time needed, and cost of, raising a deposit are likely having an impact on the profile of the average first-time buyer over time. Today, those starting out on the housing ladder are 32 years old, on average - two years older than a decade ago – and almost two thirds of people are now getting their first mortgage in joint names.”

First-time buyers fall

The number of first-time buyers fell across all nations and regions last year, compared to the record highs seen in 2021.

The greatest falls last year were in the South East, South West, Wales and Northern Ireland, all dropping by 12%, an expected decline considering the very high demand seen in these areas in 2021.

East Midlands saw the smallest fall, relative to the rest of the UK, with the number of first-time buyers down 7%.

Table 2: Number of first-time buyers by nations and regions

Region 2012 2017 2021 2022 10-year change  1-year change
North 9,240 15,890 18,620 16,716 81% -10%
Yorkshire and the Humber 16,410 28,590 32,900 29,635 81% -10%
East Midlands 14,430 26,480 29,860 27,842 93% -7%
East Anglia 7,470 12,270 14,680 13,473 80% -8%
Greater London 35,750 40,690 53,990 48,390 35% -10%
South East 41,200 67,100 84,080 73,588 79% -12%
South West 17,010 28,680 32,030 28,169 66% -12%
West Midlands 16,990 30,310 33,750 30,172 78% -11%
North West 20,880 36,730 40,970 37,534 80% -8%
Wales 8,560 15,790 17,270 15,114 77% -12%
Scotland 18,610 33,560 35,030 31,184 68% -11%
N. Ireland 5,010 9,820 12,120 10,641 112% -12%
UK** 211,920 345,910 405,320 362,461 71% -11%

Sources: UK Finance and *Halifax estimate for 2022. Nation and regions total does not equal UK due to rounding.

Prices and deposits

In 2022, the average cost of a home for a first-time buyer was up 13% (to £302,010), with average deposits now 21% of purchase price. In cash terms, this means an average £62,470 deposit is being raised by those buying their first home – up 8% on 2021. Despite these significant sums, first-time buyers now account for over half (52%) of all loans on homes – the highest in the last decade.

Table 3: First-time buyers: average price and deposit by nations and regions

  Average House Price 2021 (£s) Average House Price 2022 (£s) Average Deposit 2021 (£s) Average Deposit 2022 (£s) Deposit as % of purchase price 2022 1 Year % change in Deposit 1 Year % change in Average Price
East Midlands 215,611 238,208 41,058 42,451 18% 3% 10%
East of England 307,614 336,710 61,113 60,169 18% -2% 9%
London 475,498 518,900 122,348 125,378 24% 2% 9%
North East 161,699 175,091 30,521 30,198 17% -1% 8%
Northern Ireland 159,107 171,425 29,912 33,199 19% 11% 8%
North West 194,175 212,604 37,194 37,483 18% 1% 9%
Scotland 173,970 189,428 38,468 41,442 22% 8% 9%
South East 327,406 362,730 67,569 68,749 19% 2% 11%
South West 256,320 281,167 54,507 55,708 20% 2% 10%
Wales 187,390 199,359 37,179 36,825 18% -1% 6%
West Midlands 214,438 235,108 40,205 42,339 18% 5% 10%
Yorkshire and The Humber 182,747 202,154 34,139 37,062 18% 9% 11%
UK 268,031 302,010 57,883 62,470 21% 8% 13%

Source: Halifax, Rolling 12 months to 31st December 2021, 2022

First-time buyers over 30

According to Halifax’s analysis, first-time buyers are now 32 years old, on average – and 30 or older in all nations and regions.

Table 4: Average age of first-time buyers by nations and regions: 2012 vs 2022

Region Average Age 2012 Average Age 2022 
East Midlands 30 32
East of England 30 32
London 32 33
North East 29 30
Northern Ireland  30 32
North West 30 31
Scotland 29 31
South East 31 33
South West 30 31
Wales 29 31
West Midlands 30 32
Yorkshire and The Humber 29 30
UK: 30 32

Source: Halifax, 12 months to December

Affordability

Average property values for first-time buyers are now around 7.6 times the average UK salary, so it’s no surprise that new buyers are increasingly applying for mortgages in joint names rather than by themselves.

The most affordable area for first-time buyers in the UK is West Dunbartonshire. Using the comparison of the average earnings in West Dunbartonshire (£37,910) to the average first-time buyer house price in the area (£103,957) those getting started on the property ladder need to borrow roughly 2.7 times the average salary.

The least affordable areas in the country are in London. First-time buyers face average house prices of 10 times the average salary if they want to buy in Westminster or Camden.

Table 5: UK 10 Most affordable Local Authority Districts for first-time buyers, 2022

Local Authority District Region House Price to Average Earnings ratio
West Dunbartonshire Scotland 2.7
Inverclyde Scotland 2.8
North Ayrshire Scotland 2.9
Copeland North West 3.0
East Ayrshire Scotland 3.0
Hyndburn North West 3.1
South Ayrshire Scotland 3.1
Clackmannanshire Scotland 3.1
Barrow-in-Furness North West 3.2
Blaenau Gwent Wales 3.2

Source: See Notes to Eds

Table 6: UK 10 Least affordable Local Authority Districts for first-time buyers, 2022

Local Authority District Region House Price to Average Earnings ratio
Westminster London 10.0
Camden London 10.0
Hertsmere East of England 9.6
Hammersmith and Fulham London 9.3
Harrow London 9.2
Barnet London 9.0
Brent London 8.9
Islington London 8.6
Haringey London 8.4
Oxford South East 8.4

Source: See notes to editors