The number of people who took their first step on the property ladder is at its highest level since 2007 and Glasgow is cashing in at the expense of Edinburgh, where first-time buyers face paying a 44% premium compared with the Scottish average.
According to new figures published by the Yorkshire Building Society, there were 353,436 first time buyers in the UK last year, more than 300 up on 2018 and the highest total since before the 2008 financial crash.
A typical starter home in Edinburgh now costs £217,406, compared with £151,891 nationally, an increase of 255% since 1999 when similar properties cost £61,320.
Research by the Bank of Scotland suggests that buyers in the capital are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder because they have to earn at least £50,000 to secure a mortgage.
Glasgow and its surrounding areas including Lanarkshire and Argyllshire, in contrast, has some of the most affordable housing in the UK with an average home costing £123,200, according to the latest UK Cities House Price Index published by the property portal Zoopla.
Archie Love, Director of Scottish Property Centre Motherwell, said there has rarely been a better time for first time buyers in central Scotland.
“Newcomers to the property market been helped by strong competition driving mortgage rates down to near-record lows, making borrowing more accessible,” he said.
“First time buyers have also been assisted through government schemes such as relief on the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), help-to-buy equity loans and help-to-buy ISAs.”
He added: “This combination of factors has made buying a home more accessible in areas like west central Scotland where properties are more affordable. This has seen the first-time buyer market bounce back from the financial crisis and perform better than other sectors, such as the home-moving and buy-to-let markets.”
The Yorkshire used industry-wide mortgage data from trade association UK Finance up to October, as well as estimates for November and December, to calculate the total number of first-time buyers last year.
There’s still some way to go before first-time buyer numbers reach 2006 levels, when the UK annual total stood at 400,870.
Graham Blair, head of mortgages at the Bank of Scotland, said that despite the rise, many young buyers on a budget will need to look outside of Edinburgh to afford a home.
Mr Love said: “Prices for first time buyers in Edinburgh have trebled over the past 20 years and, while living in the Capital is a goal for many, growing numbers are seeing the benefits of moving along the M8 to Glasgow and Lanarkshire where they get far more for their money.”
Last year first-time buyers made up half of Scottish property transactions and paid an average of £19,952 for a deposit. The average salary in Scotland is £31,356, according to Adzuna, an employment agency.
To find out more about opportunities for first time buyers in your area, contact your local Scottish property Centre branch or visit www.scottishpropertycentre.net