The number of First Time Buyers rose 7% year-on-year with 21,100 transactions.
However the number of transactions in February dipped by 1.4% compared with January with the average house purchased by a first time buyer growing a corresponding 1.5% over the same period.
Year on year, prices for first time buyers are up 14.5%, which is already close to wiping out the benefit of the 20% starter home discount the government announced in the Chancellor’s autumn statement back in November.
The figures, produced as part of Your Move and Reeds Rains First Time Buyer tracker indicate that February was busier than usual for first time buyers, with seasonally adjusted figures putting the number of first time buyers at 100 higher than the three month seasonally adjusted average for the preceding three months – 25,900 compared with 25,800.
Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, said: “February is a traditionally quiet period for the first-time buyer market. The month sits awkwardly between the New Year property market rush and the spring-summer activity high. However, beyond that seasonality, these figures demonstrate the strong, steady underlying growth that comes with growing first-time buyer confidence.
“This optimism may begin to reveal itself more clearly in March, when an Easter uplift may sweep away any residual doubts among some first-timers. While the more general mismatch between buyers and sellers will continue to exert upwards pressure on prices, a combination of pluck and poise from first-time buyers will ensure that this does little to impact the overall trend of growing demand at this end of the market.
“First-time buyers have had the benefit of some favourable February conditions. While those setting a first foot on the ladder this month have had to shell out more in terms of headline prices – as they seek to compete with buy-to-let investors for small, affordable homes – mortgage lending has easily kept pace. Equally, although many first-time buyers will baulk at the rising deposit costs, there is a silver cloud to this grey lining. Larger deposits tend to indicate growing incomes and larger mortgages, meaning an impressive number of first-time buyers are accessing the capital to purchase a first home, even in a sellers’ market.
“In addition, the fundamentals are still there for aspiring home owners to realise their dreams. The average mortgage rate remains competitive and the lending market is still very supportive towards those taking their first step into the property market. The coming months will test whether first-time buyers feel ready to seize that support as vigorously as they did last year.”