Congratulations, first-time buyers! The semi-annual First Time Buyer Review of mortgage lender Halifax points to a record-high increase in the number of first-time buyers in the first half of the year, hitting its highest level since 2007.

The report shows that as many as 144,500 Britons bought their first home between January-June 2014, which was the highest six-month total for the last seven years. Compared with the same period of 2013, first-time buyers amounted to 25% more, Halifax said.

2014 is also the third year in a row to see the number of first-time buyers go beyond the 100,000 mark over a six-month period, which was also the strongest performance for this period since the onset of the financial turmoil.

The number of first-time buyers also accelerated at a faster pace than the number of home movers, where Halifax recorded a 20% increase in activity compared to the corresponding period of 2013. First-time buyers commanded 46% of the home purchase market in the first half of the year, increasing it from 44% in 2013 and 40% in 2012. This was the highest proportion of first-time buyers in this segment of the property market in the past 14 years, Halifax noted.

First-time buyers were particularly favoured by the improved access to mortgages in recent years, which is evident from the lower level of disposable earnings earmarked for mortgage payments. This share stood at 31% among first-time buyers in the first six months of the year; significantly below the peak level of 47% in the same period of 2007 and lower than the long-term average of 34%.

Other factors benefiting people seeking to get on to the housing ladder were the country’s recovering economy, stronger employment levels and government incentives such as the Help to Buy scheme, Halifax mortgages director Craig McKinlay said.

Will 2014 be the year that you buy your first home?

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