House prices in the UK are at their most affordable for first-time buyers for more than five years, new figures suggest.

According to a survey by Halifax, the house price to earnings ratio has fallen from a peak of 5.84 in July of 2007 to 4.56 in November 2008.

The review showed that the proportion of local authorities in the UK where housing is affordable for a first-time buyer has more than trebled in the last 12 months.

"There has been a marked improvement in housing affordability in many parts of the UK,"confirmed Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax.

Furthermore, this trend is set to continue into 2009, he said.

The findings revealed that buyers in Yorkshire and Humber, as well as Scotland, had seen the largest increases in the rate of affordable housing over the last year.

A report by the Association of Residential Lettings Agents predicted last week that a high number of buy-to-let investors are likely to return to the market in 2009 as they seek to take advantage of falling house prices.ADNFCR-2002-ID-18953060-ADNFCR

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