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    South West first-time buyers among youngest
    First-time buyers are four years younger on average in the north, Wales and Scotland than in London, a new report shows.

    The average age for a first time-buyer is 28 in these areas, compared with 32 in London, with almost a decade’s difference between Harrow (34) at the top and bottom-placed Selby (25) in Yorkshire, according to mortgage lender Halifax.

    In the south, Swale in Kent and south Gloucestershire also have an average first-time buyer age of 27, with south Gloucestershire also the only place where younger first timers pay above the UK’s average house price of £135,100.

    And with an average age between 26 and 27 were Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees in the north east, Barrow-in-Furness and South Ribble in the north west, Bolsover in the East Midlands and Bridgend in Wales.

    Halifax said the age of first-time buyers reflects both lower house prices but also a low ratio of earnings to property prices in some areas.

    Nitesh Patel, housing economist at the Halifax, said: “Most of these areas are in northern England, where house prices are lower both in absolute terms and in relation to earnings, helping to limit the size of the deposit needed.”

    An average property in Selby costs £114,113 or the equivalent of 2.9 times a salary while someone buying in Harrow would need £262,634 and pay an average 6.5 times their income.

    The average age overall that someone buys their first property is 29, a figure that had only risen by one year since 1983 despite the upward surge in property prices, though Halifax said there has been a sharp rise in parental support to help buy a first property.

    The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates 84 per cent of first-timers received help with their deposit in 2010 against 34 per cent in 2005, while Halifax said the age of those trying to buy without any help with their deposit has risen from 28 to 31 over the same period.

    Bristol Evening Post 27.9.11