Despite the recent falls in property prices and the stamp-duty holidays, first-time buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to get onto the property market. This is because lenders have been demanding hefty deposits to secure the best deals – often in the region of 30-40%. Statistics say that property is affordable for first-timers in 40% of the UK, but the average deposit paid by them in 2009 was a massive £29,439. Just imagine how long it would take someone on the country’s average wage (around £25,000) to save that amount of money, whilst simultaneously paying rent, without the help of a relative.
The average age of a first-time buyer is around 31, and has been for a few years. However, the average age of the first-time buyer who buys without financial help from a relative stands at around 37. The proportion of first-time buyers in all homebuyers is down to its lowest level since November 2008. In May 2009, first-timers accounted for 45% of all agreed sales; by November 2009, this was down to 19%.
Although 90% and 95%mortgages are available, a buyer will typically end up paying and interest rate of around 5.99% to 6.99% - a whole 5.49% to 6.49% more than the current Bank of England base rate. Enter the post office. The Government want its 11,500 counters to offer competitive deals for homebuyers with a 10% deposit. Whether this will happen remains to be seen, especially seeing as we may well have a new Government in May. At present HSBC and Yorkshire bank are offering a 5.99% two-year fixed rate for buyers who have a 10% deposit. However, on a typical £150,000 loan, the fee would be £599 and £999 respectively. Santander and RBS have similar fixed-term rates but for buyers who prefer a tracker, HSBC have one which tracks 3.99% above the base rate. Compare this to the buyer who has a 25% deposit who could get a two-year fixed rate for between 3.2% to 4% and a five-year fixed rate for under 5%.
It could be the case that the population of this country may well have to fall out of love with the idea of owning their own homes. Although property prices fell by around 20% after the 2007 peak, they have been steadily creeping up once more. Recent data from the Halifax suggests that the average property is now worth £14,000 more than it was in April 2009. The bank’s house price indices show that prices have risen eight times in the last nine months.