Encouraging figures released by Halifax (and reported without paywall by Mortgagestrategy.co.uk) show a continued recovery in the number of first time buyers.

 49% of buyers using a mortgage are now first time buyers, compared to 36% in 2006. 

This has to be a shot in the arm for Help to Buy and other demand-side subsidy and support schemes. 

The report notes though that more and more FTBs are paying SDLT and that the deposit necessary has doubled between 2006 and 2016. in London, the deposit needed is now over £100,000.  Elsewhere, it is over £30,000. 

There is now a concerted push from the property industry for reform to SDLT. It will be interesting to see if these figures help or hinder the lobbyists.