Mortgages a mystery to many as young people struggle to get on property ladder

Almost two in five young people do not understand how a mortgage works, new research shows.

A Bank of Scotland study found that a quarter (25%) of 18 to 34-year-olds north of the border said a lack of financial knowledge is a key barrier to home ownership.

Two-fifths (39%) of them were unable to confidently explain how a mortgage works, according to the findings.

The survey of more than 2,100 people aged 18 to 34 in Scotland found that the greatest obstacles to getting on to the housing ladder were affordability (73%), saving for a deposit (62%), and the availability of suitable properties (34%).

Researchers found that just over a third (34%) of the age group rent from a private landlord (34%), while around one in six (16%) live with their parents, and a fifth (21%) have a mortgage.

Fewer than a quarter (23%) of those living with their parents said they are doing so through choice, while three-quarters (75%) are living in the family home because they cannot afford to move out.

Ricky Diggins, director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Young people in Scotland who want to realise their home-owning dreams continue to be affected by issues around affordability and availability of properties.

“Our survey shows that a third of adults under 34 are struggling to find a property that’s right for them, and a sixth continue to live in the family home whilst they save for their next step.

“Our research also revealed that young Scots don’t feel financially confident when it comes to understanding how mortgages work, feeling this knowledge gap is impeding their progress on to the housing ladder.

“Asking friends and family members to share their experiences is a great way to increase confidence, and getting in touch with your bank to discuss the basic steps will help demystify the process.”

The survey found that just over one in 10 (11%) young people believe they will never be in a position to afford their own home.

Some young people hope that receiving an inheritance will help them buy a property.

Just over a third (34%) expect to receive an inheritance in the future, and half (50%) intend to spend this on a home of their own.

The survey, carried out by YouGov in May and June this year, found regional differences in the proportion of younger adults who own a home.

Just over a third (35%) of 18 to 35-year-olds in southern Scotland hold a mortgage; however, in Glasgow, where the average house price is £196,625, only 18% of young people own their own home.