First-time buyers are paying an average of £15,000 more for a starter home than last year, according to latest figures.
The price of properties with two bedrooms or less increased by 8.2 per cent, double the average percentage growth across the rest of the market.
It bucks the trend for a 1.1 per cent decrease in national average asking price for homes with three bedrooms or more since October, with smaller homes showing growth of 1.7 per cent this month.
“Properties typically targeted by first-time buyers have increased in price this month, the only market to show an increase,” said Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst.
“Compared to 12 months ago, the price of newly marketed properties with two bedrooms or fewer is up by more than eight per cent, twice the rate of sectors containing properties with three bedrooms or more.”
Despite the rises, first-time buyer activity is up 13 per cent in the year to September 2016, according to CML’s Monthly Lending Trends.
However, the average age of a first-time buyer is 33, and the Rightmove report found that 21 to 24-year-olds were the group least “ranking highest in negative sentiment” about the market, believing that it was a “bad time to buy”.
“It’s difficult for first-time buyers because it’s all about raising the deposit. Once you can do it, interest rates are at their lowest level, mortgages are increasingly competitive. So it’s actually cheaper now to be a homeowner than it has been for some time,” says Johnny Morris, head of research at Countrywide.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to tackle the subject of first-time buyers as part of his first Autumn Statement on November 23.
He could find a way to make land cheaper, encouraging the provision of cheaper new-build property by releasing suitable public land at below market value, speeding up and relaxing planning regulations, and offering tax breaks to incentivise landowners to sell up.
FIRST-TIME BUYER HOTSPOTS
London and the South-East
The most affordable borough in the capital is east London’s Barking and Dagenham, where average house prices are £303,000, a 10.3 per cent increase over the past 12 months, according to the UK House Price Index for September 2016.
Seven out of the 10 cheapest boroughs in the capital have seen prices rise by more than seven per cent in the past year - including Sutton, in the south-west, where house prices average £432,000, and Waltham Forest, in the north-east, where homes cost an average of £469,000.
The East of England had the greatest increase in average property prices over the last 12 months, rising by 12.1 per cent and the average price is now £277,248. Hotspots include Cambridgeshire and coastal Kentish towns including Margate and Ramsgate, according to Savills.
Kent has long been on the property radar for London commuters, thanks to the opening of HS1, the high-speed rail link into St Pancras, in November 2007. Direct trains from Margate take one hour and 29 minutes, while Ramsgate residents can get to the capital in one hour and 13 minutes.
Cambridgeshire has appeared on the list thanks to would-be buyers seeking better value for money out of London. The area has been on the up since the vital A11 was turned into a dual carriageway and rail links are also improving, with longer and more frequent Thameslink services from Cambridge and new rolling stock and longer trains from Peterborough.
Midlands and the North
House prices in the North of England have increased 1.5 per cent year-on-year to £125,000.
Liverpool remains one of the most affordable cities with average house prices at £121,000. In the East Riding of Yorkshire, which is predominantly home to small to medium-sized towns and villages, prices are £166,000. Nearby Scarborough has seen house prices grow as little as 0.1 per cent and stands at £151,000. Traditionally a tourist destination with a fishing industry, it has has a growing digital and creative economy.
Birmingham is the star riser in this area, with prices rising by more than 7 per cent to an average of £165,000.
The city is the top destination for people moving out of London, ahead of Brighton, Thurrock and Epping Forest, according to latest internal migration statistics.
HSBC is moving 1,000 staff in its personal and business banking arms from London to a vast new office building in Birmingham, Deutsche Bank is expanding operations and several other major companies are considering expanding to the Second City.
Although in the heart of the Midlands, trains to Euston take just an hour and 21 minutes and the Department for Transport has revealed that the high-speed HS2 link will cut this to just 49 minutes.