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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 09:55 GMT
First-time buyers 'squeezed more'
For Sale signs
Life is getting tougher for first time buyers
First-time home buyers in the UK are borrowing an average of 3.29 times their incomes, figures show.

The record figures, from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), reflect the continuing boom in house prices which have outstripped buyers' incomes.

First timers are now borrowing an average of £113,887 to pay for their first properties.

However, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says the market is now starting to cool down.

Its latest report says that last year's increases in interest rates led to a slowdown in house price growth for the second month in a row in December.

"Interest rate rises have started to cool the housing market and last week's rise will have a further impact in the coming months, but the market remains strong," said RICS spokesman Ian Perry.

More first timers

Despite the increased cost of buying a flat or house, the number of first time buyers has increased.

In November the number of loans to first-time buyers went up by 5% to  37,000, from 35,300 loans in October, the CML said.

"Month-on-month we see affordability constraints becoming more pronounced for first-time buyers, and last week's interest rate rise will increase these pressures," said CML director general Michael Coogan.

"But, first-time buyers are clearly still keen to get on to the property ladder despite the growing financial hurdles," he added.

"And it is essential that anyone wanting to buy their first home should look carefully at their finances and take a realistic view as to whether they can afford the costs of home-ownership if rates continue to rise," he warned. 

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