Cost of Getting on the U.K. Property Ladder Surges to Record

(Bloomberg) -- First-time buyers in the U.K. property market are paying a record amount to purchase a home, with Londoners shelling out almost double the average for the rest of the country.

Nationally, the average house price paid by new entrants rose to 207,693 pounds ($270,000) in the first half, with purchasers laying down a 16 percent deposit, according to data from lender Halifax.

In London, getting a foot on the property ladder cost 409,975 pounds, up 66 percent since 2012. Deposits on property averaged more than three times the national level, at 106,577 pounds. That’s up fourfold in the past decade.

The capital also plays host to all 10 of Britain’s least affordable areas, led by Brent where an average first home is 12.5 times average earnings. That compares with the most reasonable area, Stirling in Scotland, where a property costs 2.9 times earnings.

The report shows the continuing strength of first-time demand after months of data pointing to a housing slowdown, with Halifax reporting in May the slowest quarterly growth in home values in four years. High levels of employment, low mortgage rates and government support schemes have all contributed.