Researchers have claimed that it could now take first-time buyers as long as 17 years to save a deposit – but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Single first-time buyers in London will on average take 17 years to save up a 15% deposit, according to Hamptons International.
However, buying with a partner, choosing a different location and, crucially, putting down a smaller deposit could help speed up your saving journey.
Below, we reveal how much of a difference these factors can make, plus steps you can take to get on the property ladder sooner rather than later.
Where are first-time buyers saving fastest?
While high London house prices and living costs mean first-time buyers in the capital often have to save for a depressingly long time, this isn’t the case across the board.
Hamptons – which based its research on renters saving 22% of their disposable income after tax, National Insurance, rent, council tax, food, transport and utility bills were taken into account – found that it should only take single buyers in the North East two years and three months to save a 5% deposit.
People buying on their own in the North West, Yorkshire & Humber and Wales can build up 5% in two years and nine months.
Speeding up your saving journey
Unsurprisingly, buying with a partner can make a significant dent in the amount of time it’ll take you to save a deposit. In fact, being in a couple can shave two years off the time it takes to build up 5%.
But if you can’t (or don’t want to) buy with a partner, teaming up with friends is a very viable alternative – and some lenders allow up to four people to take out a joint mortgage together.
‘It’s easier said than done, but by having a plan of action you’re much more likely to achieve your goal.
‘Speaking to an independent mortgage adviser early is a good way to understand your budget, how much deposit you will need and the ways you can achieve your goals.’
- Find out more: our deposit calculator shows you how long it’ll take you to save enough to buy a home
How much deposit do you need for a mortgage?
A single first-time buyer in England and Wales will now need to save for an average of 10-and-a-half years in order to build up a 15% deposit, or three years and nine months for a 5% deposit, according to Hamptons.
But how much deposit do you actually need in order to get a mortgage?
In today’s market, you’ll need to put down a deposit of at least 5% and then either take out a 95% mortgage or use the Help to Buy scheme, where the government loans you a further 20% (or 40% in London).
However, while buying as early as possible sounds appealing, saving for longer and building up a larger deposit can increase your chances of having your mortgage application accepted.
It will also open the door to better deals with lower interest rates.
- Find out more: our first-time buyers deposit map reveals how much people in your area are saving
Should you buy now?
Question marks over what will happen to the base rate combined with an unpredictable property market can make it tricky to work out the best time to buy.
It’s worth taking professional advice from an impartial broker so you can make an informed decision on what’s best for you.