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First-time buyer numbers almost double in decade in Scotland

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The number of first-time buyers in a year in Scotland has almost doubled in a decade, according to new research.

Figures from the Bank of Scotland show 33,558 people entered the property market in 2019 compared to 17,580 in 2009 – an increase of more than 90%.

First-time buyers account for 50% of all housing purchases with a mortgage in Scotland, up from 38% in 2009.

Ricky Diggins, operations director at Bank of Scotland, said: “We’ve seen a big uplift in the number of first-time buyers in Scotland over the last decade and they continue to account for around half of all purchases.

“This shows just how important they are to the health of the Scottish property market, a situation that’s been helped by a number of factors including Government schemes and continued low interest rates.

“Scotland also remains one of the most affordable areas in the whole of the UK, with both average prices and deposits much lower than the overall average across the four nations.”

He added: “That only tells part of the story though, with significant differences seen in many local areas, and locations such as Edinburgh and East Lothian looking more challenging for those aiming to take that first step onto the property ladder.”

The cost of a typical first home went up by 38% – £41,687 – in Scotland over the last 10 years, from £111,402 in 2009 to £152,728 in 2019.

Meanwhile, the average deposit put down by a first-time buyer increased by 13% over the same period, from £26,427 to £29,950.

From 2018 to 2019, the typical price paid by a first-time buyer in Scotland rose by 8% (£10,771), while the average deposit was up by 11% (£2,879).

Scotland remains one of the most affordable places in the UK to buy a first property, with only Northern Ireland at £136,850 and the north of England at £136,104 recording a lower average price for first-time buyers in 2019.

This compares to a UK average first-time buyer price of £231,455, while the average UK deposit last year for first-time buyers was £46,187.