Scotland has recorded its lowest number of first-time buyers in more than 30 years, even though housing has become more affordable in the country, according to a report by the Press Association.
Around 17,000 Scots bought a home for the first time in 2011, 4% less than in 2010 and under half the record figure of 39,100, seen in 2006.
The Bank of Scotland’s First Time Buyer Review revealed that the 17,000 figure was the lowest since 1976, blaming the requirement for larger deposits as the most important factor putting off first-timers.
According to the report, the average deposit required for first-time buyers in Scotland was £22,396. This figure is lower than it was the year before, but more tellingly the figure is almost twice as much as the average £12,794 deposit that was required just four years ago, in 2007.
Surprisingly though, the report points out that homes in Scotland are more affordable than they have been for a while. Scotland ranks sixth out of twelve in the UK regions for home affordability, with homes in 77% of its towns and cities affordable for those on a median income.
The difficulty is in raising the deposit in the first place, says Nitesh Patel, the Bank of Scotland’s housing economist, who also points out that economic uncertainty is putting off many first-time buyers from stepping onto the property ladder.
South Ayrshire is the most affordable town in Scotland in which to buy a home, with average prices being just two and a half times the national median income.
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