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There were more first time buyers looking for homes last year than at any time since the financial crash of 2007, according to research by the Halifax.

The bank estimates there were around 335,000 first-time buyers in 2016, the highest since more than 350,000 were searching for new homes in 2007. But there is still some way to go before reaching the height of 2006 when there were more than 400,000 first-time buyers.

The average first-time buyer deposit has nearly doubled since 2007 and now stands at more than £32,000 -it was just over £15,000 a decade ago.

2016 was also the year where the average price in the UK for a first home tipped the £200,000 mark.

Jeffrey Ross Estate Agent’s managing director, Ross Hooper-Nash, said: “We have seen an increase the amount of first time buyers on the market in Cardiff, but we have also seen a lot of downsizers coming into the market in the past year.

“Many people are deciding to move out of the rural areas of Cardiff and the Vale and move into smaller homes which are closer to the centre of the city. This has been a surprising change in the Cardiff market and one which I’ve not seen before.”

Ross added: “These downsizers are making it more difficult for first-time buyers to get homes they can afford in the desirable areas, which is in turn pushing prices up in new and up and coming areas of the city such as Grangetown. It is an interesting knock-on which I will watch with interest in the coming year.”