Families wait 13 years to save enough money for their first home

A view of houses in Thamesmead, south east London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

A view of houses in Thamesmead, south east London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Young families in East England face saving for 13 years before they can afford to buy a home, while single people could spend 14 years waiting to get onto the housing ladder, according to estimates from Shelter.

The housing charity has found that a couple without children can get onto the housing ladder the fastest, but would still take more than seven years to buy a home in East England.

Shelter commissioned Liverpool Economics to give projections for how long it would take three types of buyers aged in their 20s to save up for a 20 per cent deposit.

The three types of household were a couple working full-time; a couple with one child, with one parent working full time and one working part time; and a single adult in full-time work.

The calculations assumed that those trying to get on the property ladder had no prior savings and that they saved around one fifth of their incomes after taxes and essential spending on costs such as food, childcare, transport and rent.

Variations in local incomes and house prices were also taken into account.

In general, a couple with no children faces the shortest wait to get on the property ladder, at around seven years.

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Shelter said this finding underlines the 'difficult choice' that many people must make between getting on the property ladder and starting a family.

With the general election looming, Shelter called for all parties to commit to building more affordable homes.

There have been some recent suggestions that conditions are getting tougher for would-be first-time buyers.

Stricter mortgage lending rules came into force last year and a recent Bank of England report found that mortgage lenders have become less willing to lend to people with deposits of less than 10 per cent.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed that the typical price paid by a first-time buyer for a house was £208,000 last November, which is 11% more than it was in November 2013.

Housing minister and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said: 'Shelter's report takes no account of this Government's Help to Buy scheme, which has allowed over 73,000 people get on the property ladder with a fraction of the deposit that they would normally require, or our new Starter Homes scheme, which will enable people to buy newly-built homes at a 20 per cent discount.

'On top of this, our efforts to tackle the deficit left by the last Administration have kept interest rates at a record low, making mortgages more affordable and increasing the number of first-time buyers to a seven-year high.

'We've also got the country building again, with housing starts at a seven-year high, 700,000 homes delivered since the end of 2009 and nearly 217,000 affordable homes delivered since 2010.'

Emma Reynolds, Labour's shadow housing minister, said: 'For a whole generation of young people and families the aspiration of buying their own home is becoming a distant dream.

'A record number of young people are still living at home with their parents in their twenties and thirties because they can't get on the housing ladder.

'The Tories have failed to tackle the shortage of homes and have presided over the lowest levels of housebuilding in peacetime since the 1920s.'