New figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show first-time buyers in Northern Ireland accounted for 58% of purchase loans during the second quarter of this year. This is much higher than the UK average, and is up 1% on the first quarter.
In comparison, first-time buyers in the rest of the UK accounted for just 38% of the market during the second quarter of this year. First-time buyers in Northern Ireland now have the largest proportion of the market since 2001. The amount of income spent on initial mortgage repayments for first-time buyers has also dropped, and borrowers spent just 19.1% of their income on their mortgage payments during the second quarter, compared to 19.5% in the previous quarter. This is the lowest percentage since these statistics were first recorded in 2005.
The number of loans advanced to first-time buyers dropped slightly compared to the first quarter, but these figures are the same as for the second quarter of 2011 even though the overall value fell by £10 million. During the second quarter 1,100 loans worth around £80 million were advanced to first-time buyers, compared to 1,200 loans worth £100 million that were advanced during the first quarter of this year. The number of loans advanced for home movers was unchanged compared to the previous quarter, with the average advance being just £92,000 which is the lowest since the third quarter of 2005.
Derek Wilson, chair of the CML in Northern Ireland commented on these figures saying "The proportion of first-time buyers continued to rise compared to the rest of the market in Northern Ireland and is likely to be linked to the movement in house prices and affordability. It's conceivable that the combination of a rapid deterioration in affordability and the subsequent improvement t as house prices fell, has released a pent-up demand from first-time buyers unable to buy when prices were higher."
In comparison the UK as a whole saw 6% increase in the number of home loans compared to the previous quarter, and numbers rose by 4% when compared to the same quarter in 2011.