The number of first-time buyers living in the south has doubled in five years, despite them paying a third more for their new homes, according to new research.
Figures from Abbey Mortgages revealed that southerners buying their first homes now borrow an average of £128,370 - 31 per cent more than their northern counterparts.
Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, head of mortgages at Abbey, described the evidence of the north-south divide as "more of a gulf than a gap".
"Perhaps it shows that people in the south want to buy now – expecting prices to continue rising at a rapid rate, whereas buyers in the north feel they have less to gain in jumping on the property ladder," he suggested.
Abbey has recently launched a 100 per cent mortgage aimed at first-time buyers who found it difficult to save up for a deposit, he said.
House prices increased by 0.4 per cent last month according to the Halifax House Price Index and figures over the past four months have indicated a slow-down.
Martin Ellis, chief economist, said that the market remained robust but he expected house prices to continue to slow in growth for the rest of the year.
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