News In Focus
First time buyers at new low despite "affordable" conditions
The number of first-time housebuyers in Scotland is at its lowest level for 35 years, according to a Bank of Scotland report.
It estimates that about 17,000 people became first-time buyers this year, down 4% on 2010 and the lowest annual total since 1976. It compares with a figure of over 39,000 in 2006.
Although according to the report, the average house price paid was affordable for someone on average earnings in more than three quarters of Scottish local authority areas, compared with 31% as prices peaked in 2007, it also records that the average deposit in the first 11 months of 2011 was £22,396, or 21% of the purchase price, compared with 10% four years ago.
The average first time buyer was aged 29.
Seven of the 10 "most affordable" areas of the UK for a first time buyer are in Scotland, led by South Ayrshire, with Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire next.
Nitesh Patel, a housing economist with Bank of Scotland, recognised that conditions "remained tough" for first time buyers, with economic concerns adding to the difficulties in raising a deposit.
Many also complain of the difficulty in finding a willing lender.