The most affordable towns for first-time buyers in Scotland
The average house price paid by a first-time buyer in June 2012 was affordable for someone on average earnings in 93% of all local authority districts, according to the latest Bank of Scotland First-Time Buyer Review. This represents the highest proportion for seven years, up from 75% a year ago and more than double the proportion of affordable districts at the peak of the housing market in 2007 when only 43% were affordable.
The report estimates that there were around 9,000 first-time buyers in Scotland in the first half of 2012, just over a fifth higher than in the same period in 2011, but less than half the number in 2002 when there were 20,900. The recent ending of the stamp duty holiday is likely to have boosted the number of first-time buyers in the first six months of 2012 as some buyers brought forward their purchases to meet the March deadline.
Across the UK, four of the five most affordable districts for a first-time buyer are in Scotland. South Ayrshire is the most affordable both in Scotland and the UK with an average property price that is 2.47 gross average annual earnings. Stirling is second in Scotland (2.64) while Aberdeenshire is the least affordable (4.31).
“With first-time buyers forming a vital part of the Scottish housing market, it is clearly encouraging that the number of those getting onto the property ladder for the first time may well increase this year, albeit from a historically low level,” said Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Bank of Scotland. “However, the continued uncertainty over the outlook for the Scottish economy and the difficulties faced by many in raising the necessary deposit remain significant hurdles for those wishing to buy their first home.”
The report also revealed that in Scotland:
* the average deposit in the first half of 2012 was marginally (1%) lower than in the same period in 2011
* the average first-time buyer deposit of £19,579 in June was nearly three times higher than in 2002 (£7,136)
* 23% of first-time buyers will now pay stamp duty compared to only 1% during the period of the temporary threshold increase
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