The number of first-time buyers is set to hit a three-year high over the next 12 months, with this group making up nearly a third of prospective homeowners.
According to a survey conducted by property website Rightmove, 27.9% of buyers who intend to get on to the property ladder within the next year will be doing so for the first time.
This percentage is the highest since the site launched its Consumer Confidence Survey in the last three months of 2009. At that time this figure was 27.6% and had dropped to a low of 22.2% in the ensuing years.
“These are encouraging signs that the gap is narrowing to get closer to the pre-credit crunch norm where the level of first-time buyers was closer to 40%,” said Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove.
Further figures from the research showed that the average age for first-time buyers has decreased by one year since the results of a previous survey at the end of 2011.
This has dropped from 32 to 31, which has been partly attributed to more forward financial planning by first-time buyers.
“The property market needs this upward trend in first-time buyer activity to continue as first-time buyers perform an essential role at the bottom of the property market food chain,” added Mr Shipside.
“They give second-steppers the resources to trade up the housing ladder, as well as alleviating demand and upwards rental pressure in the rented sector”.
Gathering the finances needed for a deposit remains the chief concern for first-time buyers, with this the main worry for 33%. Finding the right property for their needs was also high on the list of first-time buyer concerns, with 30.2% worried about this.