First-time buyers rely on bank of mum and dad
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by Kay Mitchell
The Halifax has today reported that house prices are continuing to decline with a 2.2% fall recorded last month.
This takes the annual rate of fall to 13.7% over the past year and according to the lender, the latest fall takes the average home to Â£168,176, almost Â£30,000 less than a year ago.
While this sounds like good news for first-time buyers, the fact still remains that it is increasingly difficult to obtain a mortgage without a hefty deposit, since the credit crunch has meant lenders are only willing to lend to those with an excellent credit rating or a large amount of equity in their properties.
Consequently, a new affordability challenge for first-time buyers is the need for a higher deposit, even though house prices are now about 12-15% cheaper than they were this time last year.
According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), almost 50% of all first-time buyers under the age of 30 received financial help getting on the property ladder in the second quarter of this year, up from 38% in 2006.
According to the organisation, the absence of the 100% mortgage has meant that first-time buyers need financial assistance in finding a deposit, and this is coming from relatives.
The CMLâ€™s research found that the average first-time buyer had to put down a deposit of Â£19,000 during the second quarter of 2008 – up from Â£14,500 the year before.
According to the Council, those most likely to need financial assistance from their parents live in London, the South East of England and Northern Ireland.
In London, the typical assisted first-time buyer had a Â£67,000 deposit and an average income of Â£42,000, according to the CML.
However, the bank of mum and dad my not be readily available over the next few months since the economic downturn has meant that households are tightening their purse strings and as house prices continue their downward spiral, these parents will see the value of their own homes decline.
The CML concludes by saying if this source of help for first-time buyers dries up, then opportunities for potential buyers to enter the market could be severely limited, and we may see their numbers decrease significantly beyond what are already record low points.
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