First-time buyers are “endangered species”

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FIRST-time buyers are becoming an increasingly endangered species, with the East Midlands being one of the worst regions for getting on the property ladder, according to a new report.

Forecasts for the next 12 months paint a gloomy picture of the housing market for those wishing to buy their first home, with massive deposits meaning the average earner will need to save for over a decade.

A survey by saving website, InvestorBee, found that first-time buyers aren’t prepared to wait more than ten years to buy a property, despite the average person in the East Midlands needing at least 15 years to save for the 20 per cent deposit usually required by lenders.

A disparity between the expectations of first-time buyers and the reality of getting on the property ladder in the region was also highlighted by the survey, which found 27 per cent of those saving want to buy within the next 12 months, and 29 per cent in one to two years.

None of those asked were prepared to wait more than ten years to save and buy.

First-time buyers in the East Midlands earn an average of £23,431, saving 9.3 per cent of their salary which would take them 15.6 years to save 20 per cent of the average house price – currently £169,411 in the region.

Graham Mannion, managing director of InvestorBee, said: “There is a misalignment between what first-time buyers want to do and what they actually can do with their savings.”

Latest figures also show that first-time buyers are a dwindling fraction of the total market.

According to a first-time buyer forecast published in December by the property website, Rightmove, only 18.4 per cent of those in the East Midlands who expect to buy in the next 12 months will be doing so for the first time.

That is below the national average of 23 per cent, putting the East Midlands as the region with the second lowest number of prospective first-time buyers for 2012, after the South West.

The numbers are even thinner on the ground than this time last year, when the national percentage was at 26 per cent and 22.9 per cent for the East Midlands.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “The first-time buyer remains an endangered species. They perform an essential role at the foot of the property market food chain in allowing sellers on the bottom rung of the housing ladder to trade up, and this makes them highly prized.”

Mr Shipside said the average age of first- time buyers in 2012 will be 32 years old.

Concern for those wishing to get on the first rung of the property ladder was echoed by the National Association of Estate Agents, who last month revealed their predictions for this year’s property market.

According to the association’s chief executive, Bolton King, first-time buyers would be particularly pushed to be approved for borrowing from many major lenders.

He said: “Next year will see a continued lending barrier facing those entering the housing market for the first time, with major lenders sticking to tight mortgage policies.”

l Are you looking to get on the property ladder in 2012? What do you think of the reports? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk

See this week’s Derbyshire Times for the full report.

By Ellie Hunter