Affordable housing offers gateway into market for first-time buyers

The average price paid for properties purchased under shared ownership, shared equity and other low cost house purchase schemes is 12% lower than the average for all houses, at £161,8391. The highest average price paid using these schemes is in London (£243,841) whilst the lowest is in the North East (£132,684).

Regionally, the biggest difference between the average price paid under low cost house purchase schemes and buying without such assistance is in London where the average price paid is almost one fifth lower (£243,841 against £298,972).

Properties bought under affordable housing schemes are usually smaller than a typical property with an average of 4.4 rooms not including kitchens and bathroom/toilets. This is almost one room smaller than the 5.2 average for all houses. The difference in size partly reflects the fact that 42% of affordable housing buyers are single adults, which is significantly higher than their 29% share of all households in the UK.

Nearly three in ten homes bought under affordable housing schemes are flats. This is nearly double the proportion of all home sales accounted for by flats.  79% of properties bought under affordable home ownership arrangements are newly-built properties.

Some 16% of all affordable housing transactions in 2011 were in the South East (16%) followed by Scotland (15%), North West (11%) and the South West (10%).  London accounted for 5%.

More than two-thirds (67%) of those purchasing a home under affordable housing schemes are first-time buyers.  This is more than double the proportion of all those buying a home with a mortgage (30%).

The average age of buyers is 32. Almost a half (49%) are in the age band 20 to 29 with a further 31% between the ages of 30 to 39. In contrast, only a quarter of all house buyers are aged 20 to 29. These schemes are, therefore, enabling more young people to get onto the housing ladder.

The average gross annual income of an affordable home buyer is £26,704. The average income of those buying under these schemes is 6%3 lower than that for all buyers (£28,524). Regionally, the average income of buyers under these schemes varies from £41,947 in London to £22,660 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "Affordable home ownership schemes offer a cheaper alternative to buying a home but with the flexibility of allowing the occupiers to increase their share over time.

"This has particularly been true for first-time buyers who account for the largest share of the market. Of all the various low cost home purchase schemes, those under the builders’ own shared equity schemes and FirstBuy umbrella have proved to be the most popular.

"Whilst shared equity and other affordable housing schemes have historically performed strongly, new schemes such as the government’s New Buy initiative will also play a role in meeting demand and helping to support first-time buyers."

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