UK buyer deposit now at lowest level for six years

Raising a deposit, which has been the single biggest barrier to home ownership in the UK since 2010, is now at its lowest level for six years, new research shows.

However, it still presents a barrier to over half of consumers with 52% saying it is a hurdle to overcome, according to the latest Property Tracker report from the Building Societies Association (BSA).

But it points out that this figure is down from 59% in September 2015 and lower than the high of 69% recorded in September 2011.

From September to December 2015, access to mortgage finance as a barrier to home ownership dropped from 41% to 38%. The affordability of monthly mortgage repayments fell from 35% to 33% and lack of job security is now at 26%, down from 28%.

The BSA says that results indicate that people are feeling reasonably confident about home ownership as an option for them. This could partially be as a result of the focus on housing in the Autumn Statement in November and is evidenced by the strong lending by building societies and other lenders across the market this year.

‘This snapshot of sentiment in the housing market shows that consumers are feeling reasonably optimistic about getting on or moving up the property ladder,’ said Paul Broadhead, BSA head of Mortgage Policy.

‘Awareness of Government schemes, such as Help to Buy and the new Help to Buy, London plus the availability of higher loan to value mortgages helps to bring choice and competition to the market. Housing generally needs to remain a top priority for the Government,’ he pointed out.

‘Now is the time to focus on building more homes, supported by appropriate investment in infrastructure, in order to begin to address the long term imbalance of housing supply with demand,’ he explained.

‘Innovative mortgage products and intermediate forms of tenure must also be championed, not just by building societies, but by all lenders, the regulators and government. This will go some way to delivering a sustainable housing market which caters to the needs of a wide range of credit worthy consumers, not just those with ‘vanilla’ borrowing requirements,’ he added.