The paper explores the relationship between house price growth, income levels, investor activity and the effects on entrants to the housing market. It concentrates on the area of first time buyers to the market and the issues of affordability which are now becoming increasingly apparent in Northern Ireland. House prices in Northern Ireland have experienced unprecedented growth particularly in the last 12 months (37% in 2006 alone according to the University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index, March 2007). The rates of increase are currently amongst the highest in Europe when considering the RICS European Housing Review 2007 published in February 2007. This paper examines the impact on first time buyers where the pressure is most acute as the average income in Northern Ireland is historically lower than the rest of the UK and has not increased substantially despite rising house prices. Using twenty years of house price data from the Quarterly House Price Index and mortgage data for first time buyers from CML the effects on entrants to the market are analysed. The increasing affordability issue is examined in more depth using an affordability model developed by the University of Ulster in association with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. The results from the affordability index are presented using GIS mapping techniques to show the geographical areas where the effects of affordability are most apparent. The paper concludes with a summary of possible policy recommendations to alleviate the pressure currently experienced by first time buyer market.