First-time buyers ‘face decade-long wait to save deposit’

First-time buyers face a typical decade-long wait to save enough money to get on to the property ladder – rising to 15 years in London – research suggests.

Across England and Wales, the average time it would take a first-time buyer to raise a 15% deposit is 10 years and three months, according to calculations from Hamptons International.

This means that if a single first-time buyer started saving now, they could expect to get the keys to their first home in 2029.

The latest figures, based on the fourth quarter of 2018, are an improvement compared with the fourth quarter of 2016, when it took an estimated 10 years and nine months to save.

Aneisha Beveridge, head of research, Hamptons International, said: “Slowing house price growth – which is expected to continue – combined with rising wages, meant that last year it was six months quicker to save for a home than it was two years earlier.

“However, despite the slight improvement in affordability, it still takes a single person more than a decade to save up to buy a home.”

All regions across England apart from the North East and the North West have seen the average time it takes for a single buyer to save for a deposit fall over the past two years. In both of these northern regions, the time to save has remained unchanged.

In Wales, a single buyer needing a 15% deposit can expect to get on the property ladder after eight years and six months – down from nine years and three months in the fourth quarter of 2016.

In London, a single first-time buyer faces waiting 15 years and nine months to save for a deposit – an improvement on the fourth quarter of 2016 when it took 16 years.

Ms Beveridge continued: “Conditions are hardest in the capital where house prices have increased the most over the last decade. Despite price growth cooling off more recently, it still takes a single person over 15 years to save up for a 15% deposit for a home in the capital.

“This is over nine years longer than in the North East, which is the quickest region to save for a home.”

Clubbing together with a friend or a partner could help buyers make the leap on to the property ladder much faster, taking around four years and nine months on average, according to the calculations.

Regionally, a couple in London saving together could gather a deposit in seven years and six months on average.

A couple saving in the North East of England could take two years and nine months on average to raise a 15% deposit.

As well as assuming that first-time buyers would need a 15% deposit, the calculations also assumed that people would be able to save 22% of their income towards a deposit after tax, rent and essential bills and used average full-time earnings for people aged 20 to 29 to make the calculations.

Some first-time buyers may find they can buy their first home with a smaller deposit than 15%, with many mortgage lenders offering competitive low-deposit deals.

There are also Help to Buy initiatives aimed at first-time buyers to help them get on the property ladder faster.

Here is the length of time it could typically take a single first-time buyer, followed by a couple, to save for a 15% deposit, according to Hamptons International:

– East: 11 years; five years
– East Midlands: nine years; four years
– London: 15 years and nine months; seven years and six months
– North East: six years and six months; two years and nine months
– North West: eight years and six months; three years and six months
– South East: 13 years and six months; five years and nine months
– South West: 13 years; three years and six months
– Wales: eight years and six months; four years
– West Midlands: nine years and three months; three years and six months
– Yorkshire and the Humber: eight years; three years and six months

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