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First Time Buyers 'Face Financial Strain'

Feb 10, 2008
New homeowners are increasingly struggling with their finances, new research indicates.

In an accessibility index conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), it is claimed that the cost of becoming a home purchaser in Britain has surged by 351 per cent since its most affordable point in 1996. The institution pointed out that a first-time buyer couple who are both on lower-quartile earnings (about 26,595 pounds after taxes) would have to save up over a year's take home pay to afford the up-front buying costs. With the likes of stamp duty, fees and a down payment on a property coming to 27,729 pounds, it was suggested that consumers will have to save up the equivalent of 104 per cent of an annual salary to meet such expenses. The institution pointed out that such a figure indicates a "substantial rise" from the low point of 23 per cent recorded 12 years ago.

According to the financial firm, worsening affordability of a home is being driven by slight cuts in loan-to-value ratios that lenders offered to first-time buyers, in addition to the effects of stamp duty and the costs of buying a home. Currently those making their initial steps on the property ladder contribute some 40.3 per cent of their combined take home pay towards their mortgage, down from the 40.8 per cent recorded during the third quarter of 2007.

Due to financial pressures associated with buying a home it is also possible that consumers may develop problems in meeting other demands on their spending. Such areas may well include loans and credit card repayments, as well as transport costs and household bills.

David Stubbs, senior economist for Rics, said: "At the start of 2008, first-time buyers are finding it even harder to get a foothold on the housing ladder and the signs are that conditions are unlikely to get better in the short term. Mortgage lenders are demanding ever higher deposits as the credit crunch continues to take effect. Those who are struggling with mortgage repayments are still faced with paying a large percentage of take home pay but there may be some release of pressure as earnings continue to rise. If the Bank of England cuts interest rates next week, many will breathe a sigh of relief."

Findings from the firm also revealed that those in London could be struggling the most in making their mortgage payments. First-time buyers living in the capital are putting more than half (51 per cent) of their take home pay towards mortgage costs. This compares to 29 per cent for people from the north-east of the country.

People worried about how they will be able to afford property might wish to take out a low-rate loan. In applying for a loan, borrowers may be able to meet costs such as stamp duty and moving-in fees quickly and effectively. The help with money that a UK loan provides may also help with making mortgage payments, which may be of particular assistance to first-time buyers. Last year, Paul Holmes, chief executive of Firstrung, claimed that consumers are becoming evermore cautious of how they manage their money when moving into a new home, while it was claimed that getting on to the housing ladder has "never been as expensive in the history of mankind as it is now", with the typical home costing about 200,000 pounds.
About the Author
Mark Dawson writes for the the Loan Arrangers where you can compare cheap loans and apply online for UK home loans, and loans for bad credit.
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