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Home ownership a distant dream for many

Home ownership a distant dream for many

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 01/04/2011
First Published: 01/04/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The vast majority of people still aspire to own their own homes, but many have all but given up hope of ever doing so.

Tough conditions in the housing market and uncertainty in the wider economy have seen the number of first time buyers getting on the first rung of the housing ladder fall significantly in recent years.

Before the market began crashing towards the end of 2007, a typical year would have seen 400,000 to half a million first time buyers enter the market.

However, as lenders have tightened up their lending criteria, that number has fallen to around 200,000 a year, suggesting hundreds of thousands of would-be homeowners have been prevented from buying.

This is confirmed by figures from HSBC which show that more than four in five non-home owning adults aspire to be a first time buyer.

Eighty-six per cent of non homeowners aged 18-24 years old aspire to buy a home, with 84% of 25-34 year olds in the same boat would also like to buy a home.

However, only 19% of aspiring homeowners expect to be in the position to buy in the next five years, while 45% think they will never be able to purchase a property.

In the recent Budget, the Government announced a programme to help first time buyers with just a 5% deposit buy a home, but the Council of Mortgage Lenders has said the reach of the initiative will be minimal.

The current requirements demanded of first time buyers explain why so many are unable to buy, with many others forced to borrow from their family to raise a sufficiently sized deposit.

The current average first time buyer house price of £136,842 is 6.6 times a young single person's average earnings of £20,654.

With lenders across the industry typically reluctant to lend more than four times income, this leaves an 'affordability gap' of 2.6 times income, equivalent to £53,700 or 39% of the house price.

In order to afford a 90% loan-to-value mortgage, the maximum a standard lender will currently allow, a typical first time buyer's home earnings would have to be £30,800, 49% higher than current average earnings for a single young adult.

"Our study proves that the aspiration to be a homeowner continues to be exceptionally strong," Stuart Beattie, HSBC's head of mortgages, commented.

"Over 80% of young non-homeowners are aspiring to buy a home but are being prevented from doing so due to lack of affordable homes.

"The key to helping buyers back into the market is to help them obtain the cash deposit that responsible lenders require before granting a mortgage."

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