The average house price in England and Wales rose by 6.6% in 2015, up £17,963 since December of the previous year to reach £292,077, according to the latest report from estate agency Reeds Rains.

The firm said each rise in prices made it more difficult for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder, but there were plenty of schemes out there to help.

Reeds Rains regional managing director John Wetherell said: “The housing market has enjoyed steady growth in 2015 rewarding homeowners and reinforcing our shared desire to own our own homes.

“This can present a challenge for first-time buyers and we suggest the following to help them with their property searches.”

Reeds Rains regional managing director John Wetherell

Advice for first-time buyers

  • Consider a Help to Buy ISA

This is a new type of ISA designed to help first-time buyers save a deposit. The Government adds 25% to the holder’s savings - up to a maximum of £3,000 on savings of £12,000.

  • Think Shared Ownership

With these schemes, the buyer purchases a share of your chosen property (between 25% and 75%) by taking out a mortgage. They then pay rent on the remaining share with the option to increase their stake.

  • Do thorough research

Look into the local market by visiting the area and comparing places online to find areas and property types that are affordable and meet buying criteria. This is important to build up a clear idea of what’s available and what it costs.

  • Be realistic with your funds

Budget for the cost of a move and for the costs of living in a new home Make sure there’s enough saved for a deposit and moving costs.