Long Wait For First-Time Buyers In London

22 January 2015, 11:26 | Updated: 22 January 2015, 11:32

A new report claims young families in London face saving for 26 years before they can afford to buy a home.

The housing charity Shelter also says for people across England that wait is less, at around 12 years.

In more than 70% of counties across England, it would take more than a decade for a young household to save for a deposit, according to the report, titled A Home of Their Own, found.

Shelter says that is based on examining average wages, house prices, rent and spending on essentials.

The report found in general, a couple with no children faces the shortest wait to get on the property ladder, at around seven years.

Shelter said this finding underlines the "difficult choice" that many people must make between getting on the property ladder and starting a family.

Despite couples with no children having a shorter wait due to generally having higher levels of disposable income, across the whole of inner London, it would take more than a decade for a couple with no children to save for a deposit, the report found.

There are several hotspots outside the capital where it would also take a decade for a couple without children to save for a deposit, including Brighton, Windsor and Maidenhead, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Devon.

The research also found that families with a child living in the South East and the South West face a wait of around 15 years to get on the housing ladder, while those in the East could expect to spend around 13 years saving for a deposit.

Although a shorter time than average, a family living in the North East, the North West or Yorkshire and the Humber still faces a wait of around nine years to be able to afford a home, Shelter found.

With the general election looming, Shelter called for all parties to commit to building more affordable homes.

The Government's flagship Help to Buy scheme offers first-time buyers and home movers the chance to buy a home with a deposit of just 5%.

But there have been some recent suggestions that conditions are getting tougher for would-be first-time buyers.

Stricter mortgage lending rules came into force last year and a recent Bank of England report found that mortgage lenders have become less willing to lend to people with deposits of less than 10%.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed that the typical price paid by a first-time buyer for a house was £208,000 last November, which is 11% more than it was in November 2013.

Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders' website shows that currently, first-time buyers are needing to put down a deposit of around 17%. The average age of someone taking their first step on the property ladder is 30 years old.

Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb said: "Successive governments have announced scheme after scheme promising to help first-time buyers, but these have just papered over the cracks.

"The only way to make sure young people have a hope of a home of their own is for politicians to roll up their sleeves and commit to building enough truly affordable homes."

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: "Shelter's report takes no account of this Government's Help to Buy scheme, which has allowed over 73,000 people get on the property ladder with a fraction of the deposit that they would normally require, or our new Starter Homes scheme, which will enable people to buy newly-built homes at a 20% discount.

"On top of this, our efforts to tackle the deficit left by the last Administration have kept interest rates at a record low, making mortgages more affordable and increasing the number of first-time buyers to a seven-year high.

"We've also got the country building again, with housing starts at a seven-year high, 700,000 homes delivered since the end of 2009 and nearly 217,000 affordable homes delivered since 2010."