This year the number of first-time buyers fell to the lowest level since 1980, according to figures out today from Halifax. They reveal that an affordability crisis is now affecting every part of Britain. The Guardian (Sat)

An estimated 300,000 first-time buyers entered the market in 2007, 44% fewer than in 2002, when there were 532,000 buyers. Average prices paid by first-time buyers jumped to £175,093 in 2007, up 15% on the year and almost double the price paid just five years ago.

Halifax revealed that first-time buyers cannot afford to purchase the average house in 96% of towns in Britain. Even the cheapest properties, terraced homes, are now beyond the reach of buyers in 71% of towns, it said.

Large parts of Britain have house prices which are 10 times the average local incomes. Henley-on-Thames has house prices which are 13 times the income of local first-time buyers. Those in search of an affordable home need to head to the Shetland Islands, one of only three locations in Britain where prices are 3.5 times local incomes or less.