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Although affording a home remains a tall order

First-time buyers can now save enough for a typical mortgage deposit six months faster than two years ago. Hamptons International found the average time it takes for a single first-time buyer to save for a 15% deposit in England and Wales fell to ten years and three months in the fourth quarter of 2018.

This was six months quicker than in the same period of 2016. This means that if a single first-time buyer started saving now, it would take them until the beginning of 2029 to be able to afford a home.

The ‘time to save index’ takes the average UK wage and works out how much and how long it would take couples and singletons to save for a mortgage after covering their rent, food, transport and bills. It is based on the money being put into an average cash ISA paying 1.4%.

There are of course regional variations, with a single Londoner having to wait 15 years and nine months to save. It is a faster process for couples, who would need to save for four years and nine months, three months quicker than in 2016.

Despite relatively low savings rates, it is six months quicker for a single first-time buyer to save for a deposit now than a decade ago, Hamptons International said. Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “Saving a deposit is still the biggest barrier to buying a home, but things did improve in 2018.

“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.

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 more than 15 years to save up for a 15% deposit for a home in the capital. This is more than nine years longer than in the north-east, which is the quickest region to save for a home.”

First time buyers remain a rare breed in the Taunton area. Not too many years ago, every other sale was made to a first time buyer and we held ‘First time buyers evenings’ as regular events. There’s little point these days as so few can afford to get on the ladder. Hopefully the situation will continue to improve when Brexit is sorted and the Government of the day can home in on the issue and resolve a massive problem.

By Chris Willey

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