Thousands are racing to complete sales before next Wednesday's stamp duty deadline which has created a frenzy in the property market.
But many first-time buyers have been shut out from this stampede, as the temporary tax break has helped fuel a 10 per cent surge in property values over the past year.
In particular, prices have been pushed up in previously more affordable locations with poor transport links.
Out of reach: Many first-time buyers have been shut out from the stampede as the temporary tax break has helped fuel a 10 per cent surge in property values over the past year
Home-working has turned these areas into what the lender Santander calls the 'virtual commuter belt'.
But some stamp duty relief will remain until September 30 and, most importantly, lenders are no longer giving first-time buyers the cold-shoulder.
The 95 per cent loans on which most first-time buyers depend are now more available, thanks to the Government's mortgage guarantee scheme, under which the state guarantees 20 per cent of the loan on a property of up to £600,000.
Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander and Virgin Money are participating.
Aneisha Beveridge, residential research director at Hamptons, the estate agency, says: 'In April, rates on these loans were high, but they are starting to come down now — which will help affordability.'
The stamp duty holiday continues on properties up to £250,000 until September 30.
From July 1, first-time buyers in England and Northern Ireland will pay no tax on the first £300,000 and 5 per cent on the slice of the purchase price between £300,001 and £500,000.
A first-time buyer acquiring a property of £500,000-plus does not benefit; the tax kicks in at £125,000 as normal. Different systems apply in Scotland and Wales.
Bank of mum and dad
This particular bank may be less generous this year, amid concerns about job losses among the over-50s.
If your parents are worried about their pensions and you do not have a deposit, check out the Barclays Springboard mortgage.
This allows you to use the savings of friends and family as security, if they amount to 10 per cent of your property's price.
These guarantors receive their money back after five years with interest. The rates on Springboard loans range from 3.65 to 3.85 per cent.
A lifetime Individual Savings Account (Isa) can help accumulate that all-important deposit.
You can save up to £4,000 a year to which the Government adds 25 per cent meaning that you can receive £1,000.
After a year, you can put the cash towards a property of up to £450,000. The app-based Moneybox account is the most popular (moneyboxapp.com).
Your first home
The Government's First Home scheme will allow you to obtain a 30 per cent discount on a new home in an area where you live or work.
Only homes of up to £250,000, or £420,000 in London, will be eligible and your household earnings must be below £80,000, or £90,000 in London.
If you like the sound of this, curb your enthusiasm as the homes are not yet built.
Help to buy
Help to Buy covers new-build homes in England. If you have a 5 per cent deposit and can arrange a mortgage, you can get an equity loan from the Government covering 20 per cent (40 per cent in London) of the price.
You do not pay interest on this for the first five years.
Shared Ownership permits you to buy or borrow to acquire a share in a home and pay a subsidised rent on the rest, with the aim of 'staircasing', that is increasing your share every year until you are the outright owner.
The outlay is modest but maintenance fees are payable.
On the market. . . starter homes
Kent: This three-bedroom apartment in a former church in Hawkhurst would make a quirky starter home in the village centre. Fineandcountry.com, 01580 71500. £500,000
Suffolk: Lestyle Lodge is a three bedroom period cottage in Newmarket with a rear garden. There are period features scattered throughout. Jackson-stops.co.uk, 0163 662 231. £385,000
Warwickshire: There are two bedrooms in this detached Cotswold stone cottage in Bidford-on-Avon. The house is situated in half an acre of land. Knightfrank.co.uk, 01789 206 950. £560,000