While the top end of the property market was wobblier than a jelly in an earthquake during 2016, one sector of the property market was quietly going about its business....and it might come as a surprise to who it was.

Last year it was first-time buyers who found confidence, with the latest figures from the Halifax showing that the volume of property novices was at a 10-year high.

In 2016, 335,750 first-time buyers took the plunge and became home owners - up 7.3% on 2015. Although prices for first-time buyers have risen 81% in the last 8 years, affordability in terms of disposable income is good, with only 32% needed for mortgage repayments in 2016, compared to 50% in 2007.

Affordability is also heightened thanks to mortgages over longer terms, with many buyers choosing to spread repayments over 25 and 30 years.

If you have been dissuaded to purchase your first property for fear of high costs, speak with your local estate agent and consult with a mortgage advisor. 2017 could be the year you take your first step on the property ladder.