Mortgages 'Most Affordable For 14 Years'
Mortgages are more affordable now than at any time in the past 14 years, according to the latest figures.
Monthly payments now account for 27% of a new borrower's income in the second quarter of 2013, well below the average for the past 30 years.
Lower house prices and reduced mortgage interest rates have been the main drivers behind the significant improvement in affordability, according to the Halifax.
Halifax mortgage director Craig McKinlay said: "Substantial mortgage rate reductions and lower house prices have led to a significant improvement in mortgage affordability since the peak of the housing market six years' ago.
"The Funding for Lending Scheme has helped lenders to cut mortgage rates causing a further modest improvement in affordability over the past year despite the modest rise in house prices nationally."
It is good news for first-time buyers.
James Almond from Bramhall near Stockport has just got on to the properly ladder.
The 38-year-old bar manager said he felt the right deals were available to take the plunge.
He said: "I used a mortgage broker to look at the best deals and in the end it was quite affordable.
"Many of my friends aren't so lucky and are still living with their parents because the deposits required are so large."
But there remains a clear north-south divide when it comes to mortgage affordability, according to the Halifax.
Mortgage payments are at their lowest in Northern Ireland where they are just 17% of incomes compared to 36% in Greater London.
Independent mortgage consultant Richard Ignatowicz said the market can change quickly.
"We can't just say mortgages are now more affordable than ever. It doesn't mean much in isolation.
"Borrowers need to be cautious about changes on the horizon. Will they still be able to afford a mortgage when the rate reverts to 5%? Tthat's the real question."