Properties in London more affordable this year than last

The study shows it became easier to buy a property in the first quarter of this year

The study shows it became easier to buy a property in the first quarter of this year - Credit: Archant

Homes in London became more affordable in the first three months of this year, a report has found.

The Ability to Buy index, released by estate agents Hamptons International, shows people found it 7 per cent easier to buy a property in the capital between January and April, compared to the last quarter of 2014.

However, the report also reveals that it was 37 per cent more difficult to purchase a property in London than when the index began in 1997.

It has also become more difficult to buy homes in south east England over the past 18 years (although only by 2 per cent), but in the majority of the country it is now easier to purchase a property.

The affordability increase across the UK has been put down to a rise in earnings, lower mortgage rates and people spending less on essentials because of lower inflation.

The capital and the south east are exceptions, said a Hamptons International spokesman, because house price growth in these areas is outstripping these benefits.

David Smith, director at north London estate agents Martyn Gerrard, said the firm did notice a small rise in the number of prospective first-time buyers in the first quarter of this year.

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“Twenty three per cent of people who registered with us in the first quarter were first-time buyers,” he said, “which is up on the previous quarter. This could be down to people finding it easier to buy property - though it’s hard to say for sure.

“On the whole, the steady rise in property prices in the capital, caused by a fundemental lack of supply and a growing demand, far outstrips any benefits seen by a lower cost in living.”