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Mortgage affordability concerns rise as first-time buyer situation improves

First-time buyers are becoming more optimistic about their chances of getting on the property ladder, although significant barriers remain.

According to research from Aldermore, just over a third of first-time buyers (35%) believe it is extremely difficult to get on the property ladder – down four per cent from 39% in 2016.

However, mortgage affordability concerns have increased since last year, with 12% (up from 5%) saying this was now an obstacle to getting on the ladder.

As the property market begins to flatten, rising prices are no longer seen as such a significant obstacle, with 27% saying it was the biggest barrier, down from 37% last year.

Long-term saving

First-time buyers also appear to be more confident in their ability to save for their first deposit with the number currently living or considering living with family and friends to save falling to 59% from 69%.

Only one area of the country (Wales) saw more people say they were currently living with or would live with friends and family to help save for a deposit compared to last year.

Achieving their dream could still take some time with one in three first-time buyers believing it could take five or more years to get on the property ladder. Almost a quarter are only planning to live in their first home for four years or less, while a third (33%) will live in their first home for five to nine years.

Unsurprisingly, when asked what they would like to see changed, just over a quarter said building more homes would help them the most, with 25% requesting a special Stamp-Duty free allowance for first time buyers and a similar number at 24% wanting better mortgage products.

 

Regional differences

Predictably, affordability views on raising a deposit and finding an affordable property varied across the country.

Almost half of first-time buyers in the East of England believe raising a deposit is the biggest barrier compared to a quarter in London.

And one in three first-time buyers in the South East believe finding an affordable property and rising house prices are the biggest obstacles compared to a fifth in the North East.

Aldermore commercial director, mortgages Charles McDowell noted that while the situation was by no means easy, there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel for those trying to buy their first home.

“Although property prices remain a hurdle, slower house price increases have given a glimmer of hope to those trying to get on the ladder for the first time,” he said.

“Instead, mortgage affordability and difficulties in securing a mortgage are becoming more of an issue for first time buyers. We are fully aware of the issues facing first-time buyers and want to do all that we can to support them when it comes to securing a mortgage.”

Sourced from: Mortgage Solutions