First-time buyers need to more than double their earnings to get on property ladder

Lloyds Banking Group, Trinity Road, Halifax.

Lloyds Banking Group, Trinity Road, Halifax.

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First-time buyers need to more than double their earnings to climb on to the property ladder, research has suggested.

It highlights the uphill battle many young workers face and explains why the average age at which people buy their first home keeps rising.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the typical first-time buyer home costs £211,000, and with buyers putting down an average deposit of 17% on their first home, according to Which?, that means most will need to borrow about £175,000.

Many lenders are only willing to lend up to 4.5 times a first-time buyer’s salary, meaning they need to earn £38,917 to qualify for a mortgage.

According to HM Revenue & Customs, the average salary for 20 to 24-year-olds is £16,400, so they would need to more than double their earnings to qualify for many mortgage deals. The outlook is only slightly brighter for 25 to 29-year-olds who earn £22,700 on average.

The average deposit of 17% works out at almost £36,000 on a £211,000 home - a tall order given the salaries under-30s earn.

Helpfully, there are a growing number of mortgages available to buyers who only have a 5% deposit.

For a typical buyer, that would mean raising £10,550. However, given the restrictions on income multiples employed by many lenders, they would need to earn £44,500 to qualify.

Given these difficulties, it is perhaps unsurprising that the average age of first-time buyers has risen from 28 in 1995 to 31 this year, according to Halifax figures.

The plight of buyers was highlighted in a recent property survey from estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains. It found that one in five would be willing to purchase a home with no electricity or central heating if it enabled them to get on the property ladder.