Research suggests a third of first time buyers struggle to save a deposit

A third of people preparing to buy their first home in the UK are struggling to save enough money for a deposit, six times the proportion of people who bought their first house 20 to 30 years ago.

New research shows that while 33% of people currently saving for a home said they had been forced to delay by the challenge of saving a deposit, only 5% who bought their first home between 1988 and 1998 reported the same struggle.

The report from self-storage company Space Station points out that house prices have increased far above the rate of inflation over the last 30 years. The average house price in 1988 was £45,000, which is equivalent to £117,000 in today’s money. Yet today, the average house costs just under £210,000, almost twice the price in real terms

However, the research also suggest that first time buyers want more than previous generations. For example, 42% of people currently saving to buy want their first home to have its own driveway.

Some 38% want a large garden and 35% have set their sights on a detached or semi-detached house. Among people who bought their home 20 to 30 years ago, only 30% had a driveway, 21% had a large garden and only 29% purchased a detached or semi-detached house over a terraced property.

The research also revealed that only 3% of people who bought houses between 1988 and 1998 said they saved for longer to buy a better property, compared to 24% of people planning to buy a house today. And while only 7% lived with their parents while they saved for a deposit 20 to 30 years ago, some 16% now do this.

Jessica McDonnell, 27, from Leeds recently bought a house with her husband after five years of renting together. ‘I think the younger generation definitely have it harder when it comes to saving for a house and we are having to make a lot of just to get on the housing ladder,’ she said.

‘When we were told by our landlord that he was selling the home we were living in, we realised how much money we had been wasting renting a property and how easy it could be to lose our home in the future. We spent a year trying to save up as much money as we could by stopping going on holiday, cutting down our food bills and stopping our luxuries such as going out for food. We also both took on extra work to supplement our income,’ she explained.

‘When my parents bought our family home in the 1980s, they were offered a 100% mortgage and were able to buy a large three bedroom house, whereas we were a bit more limited by saving for a deposit and were happy to be able to afford a two bedroom property. It’s a very different world for young people today,’ she added.

Vlatka Lake, marketing manager at Space Station, said that the firm sees the struggles and sacrifices people have to make in order to buy their first home. ‘As the prices of houses shoot up, it’s not surprising to see so many people renting or living with their parents and struggling to save a deposit. It just shows how attitudes to buying a house have really changed over the years and how hard it is for first time buyers today,’ Lake explained.

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