THE average deposit for a first-time buyer has risen by a quarter to almost £50,000 – fuelling fears that some struggling families will never be able to buy a home of their own.
Savers not only need more cash due to soaring house prices, but loans for smaller deposits have almost disappeared in recent months.
It means wannabe home owners are having to save for up to ten years before getting their foot on the first rung of the housing ladder.
Today we look at the reasons why banks are now asking for increased deposits, plus here is our guide to other ways of getting your own home sweet home.
WHY ARE HOUSE PRICES BOOMING?
During lockdown, many people decided they wanted to move from towns and cities to bigger homes with gardens.
This, and pent-up demand from those unable to move in lockdown, led to house prices soaring to a record £245,747 average in August, according to Halifax.
ISN’T THIS GOOD NEWS?
Not for first-time buyers, who must save more than ever.
The average deposit for a first-time buy is £47,059 — up from £37,761 in a decade.
Yorkshire Building Society found that savers trying to build up a 15 per cent deposit face waiting ten years or more in the south of England, based on typical monthly savings figures.
Rachel Springall, from finance website moneyfacts.co.uk, said borrowers would need to put aside around £390 per month to have enough for a deposit in ten years.
David Steele, of The Money Charity, said: “It is practically impossible to accumulate a deposit unless you have a high income, save exceptionally hard or have another source of money such as generous parents, grandparents or a bequest.”
WHY WON’T BANKS HELP MORE?
They can’t stop house prices rising but they could offer mortgages that need smaller deposits.
In fact, they are doing the opposite, and pulling low-deposit mortgages.
This is because these are riskier to banks at a time when there are fears that many could lose their jobs if coronavirus causes a recession.
Just 76 mortgage deals now accept ten per cent or less — down from 1,184 six months ago.
HSBC — almost the last big bank to offer low-deposit mortgages — has said it will no longer be able to offer 90 per cent mortgages.
Its best offer is 85 per cent.
Rates are also increasing, with typical examples up from 2.57 per cent to 3.54 per cent over the past six months.
Miles Robinson, of mortgage broker Trussle, said: “Increased scrutiny and tighter criteria from lenders — as well as long waiting times and predictions of rising unemployment rates — means that making that first step on the ladder is proving difficult for many.”
SO AM I STUCK IF I ONLY HAVE 10% OR LESS?
Here’s our guide to what you can do.
JUMP THE QUEUE: Barclays Springboard mortgages allow you to borrow the full cost but you need someone — such as your parents — to put ten per cent into one of the bank’s savings accounts.
They will get this money back with 1.6 per cent interest.
START SAVING: First-time buyers aged 18 to 39 can use the Lifetime Isa for bonuses of up to £1,000 a year towards their first home.
HELP TO BUY: Offers a loan up to 20 per cent — or up to 40 per cent in London — of the property price to lower the mortgage.
It is interest-free for five years, then low interest. You’ll need a five per cent deposit and you can use a Lifetime Isa.
FIND A DEAL: Nationwide still offers a 90 per cent loan-to-value deal at 3.24 per cent, but there are lots of conditions.
You can’t use the money to buy a flat or a new-build and can only borrow for up to 25 years, rather than 30 to 40-year terms.
TRY SHARED OWNERSHIP: This lets you buy part of a home, from as little as ten per cent.
You co-own it with a housing association, who you pay rent to for the bit you don’t own. As you earn more, you can buy the rest, bit by bit.