Mortgage Lenders Concerned to Avoid Crisis

By: Stephen Morgan

Cash-strapped offspring are increasingly turning to their parents for help, with almost half of first-time buyers now reliant on their families to help fund their first property, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The council's latest re-search shows that 46 per cent of people under 30 are getting financial help from relatives to raise a deposit, up from 10 per cent in 1995.

Whereas most commentators would usually suggest that London would lead the way in this heat is apparently Northern Ireland but as the infamous record of having the highest number of first-time buyers needing relatives for financial assistance to get on to the property ladder. {Buyers receiving help typically put down a deposit of ?57,000 in London last year.| The average deposit for property nowadays put down by first-time buyers is apparently ?57,000 in London.| A staggering ?57,000 deposit is the average deposit now being raised by first-time buyer's for properties in London.) This is more than twice the amount in any other region, underlining the high barriers to home ownership in the capital.

The situation in Scotland is almost up the complete opposite to that in Northern Ireland where first-time buyers were the least likely to get assistance from their parents.

According to data provided by the survey that level of assistance from families areas throughout the United Kingdom. A survey by Alliance & Leicester, the lender, found that the average amount handed over was ?18,000 last year.

"There has always been a degree of help for children buying a home but there has been a marked increase in recent years," Bob Pannell, CML's head of research, said. the number of first-time buyers was being held up and supported by the number of these handouts for families.

First-time buyers are being hit by another double whammy in the property market with house prices have doubled over the last five years. Uncertainty over the whole situation regarding interest rates has caused additional complications as far as the property market is concerned. The percentage of take-home pay that is having to be set aside to cover mortgage payments nowadays has risen dramatically and is now roughly 34% of all home take-home pay.

The CML found last year that 80 per cent of people believed that housing market conditions were either very difficult, or the hardest they had ever been, for first-time buyers.

The council questioned whether the growing trend for families to help their children was a good idea: "For the foreseeable future, the first-time buyer market looks to be sustained by financial help from parents and other relatives. It is not clear whether there is any natural limit to the recycling of housing wealth in this way. Over time, however, the market could become polarised - with children of existing home-owners more likely to become first-time buyers."

As with government initiatives to increase home ownership, family support has the effect of helping to prop up house prices, making it even harder for those without property-owning families to enter the housing market. "What this does, unless supply is increased, is to make it harder for the next generation of homebuyers to enter the market," Mr Pannell said. "It does not address the deep-seated affordability problems. This emphasises the crucial importance of expanding the longer-term supply of housing."

A government spokesman said yesterday: "As a result of a decade of unprecedented growth, rising employment and historically low and stable interest rates there are almost 2m more homeowners than in 1997.

"The government fully recognises the importance of affordable housing for all, and has supported increasing new property completions to over 185,000 today - the highest level since 1990. We want to go further, and reach 200,000 over the next 10 years."

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