The number of first-time buyers is estimated to have fallen by 7 per cent from 340,000 in 2005 to 315,000 in 2006 which is the lowest annual total since 1980.
According to research from Halifax, the annual number of first time buyers has fallen by 37 per cent since 1997 when there were 503,000 FTBs.
The research calculates that a typical FTB was unable to purchase the average house in 93 per cent of towns in 2006 whereas in 2001 only 37 per cent of towns were unaffordable.
The research also shows that the average house price paid by an FTB broke through the £150,000 barrier for the first time in 2006 with the average price increasing by 11 per cent compared with 2005.
Five years ago, in all regions of the UK bar London and the South East the average FTB paid less than £100,000.
Halifax group economist Tim Crawford says: “First-time buyers continue to struggle to climb onto the property ladder with the average house price paid by a new buyer entering the market now above £150,000. This is close to double the level of five years ago.”