FTB costs rocket in the South

The north-south divide has never been greater for first-time buyers than it is today. In 1997, southerners only had to borrow £32,927 to get on the first rung - only eight per cent more than those in the north who borrowed £30,522. Ten years on and first-time buyers in the south are now borrowing an average £128,370 - a massive 31 per cent more than their northern equivalents at £89,189.

The gap has always been wide between the perennially expensive London and the north of the country. Ten years ago the average first time buyer borrowed £44,379 -around 30 per cent more for a house in the capital than in the cities of Manchester or Liverpool, where the average price was around £30,689. But now it’s more of a gulf than a gap, with the average Londoner borrowing £186,025 - almost twice as much as a north-westerner who borrows £97,584 to buy their first home.

Even though the costs of getting on the housing ladder in the south have raced exponentially ahead of the north, it’s done little to abate southerners’ appetite for homeownership. In fact, contrary to the obvious conclusion you might draw, the number of first-time buyers has more than doubled in the south over the past five years. Conversely, in the north - despite it becoming comparatively cheaper - the number of first time buyers has actually dwindled.

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Abbey head of mortgages, commented: “It’s extremely interesting to see that, even though the housing ladder price difference between the north and south is now more of a gulf than a gap, it has done little to upset the demand for first homes in the south. Perhaps it shows that people in the south want to buy now - expecting prices to continue rising at a rapid rate, whereas buyers in the north feel they have less to gain in jumping on the property ladder.”

“At Abbey, we are doing all we can to make it easier for first-time buyers to enter the market with our range of mortgage deals, designed with them in mind. As part of our Homebuyer Solution, we offer a free property valuation and £250 cashback towards legal costs, which can really benefit first time buyers who might otherwise struggle to meet these upfront costs. We have also recently launched 100 per cent mortgages, helping those who are finding it hard to save up for a deposit.”