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First-time buyer deposits fall 10% in a year

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The average house deposit put down by first-time buyers has fallen 10 per cent in the past year, according to new data.

The latest First-Time Buyer Tracker from Your Move and Reeds Rains, part of LSL Property Services, found that the average first-time buyer deposit fell by £2,700 in the year to May to £24,637.

This represents 67 per cent of a first-time buyer’s annual income, down from 77 per cent 12 months ago.

The average property purchased by a first-time buyer cost £146,887, £9,000 more expensive than in May 2013.

David Newnes, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains, attributed the fall in deposit amounts to the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

He said: “Savings rates have been stuck at rock bottom for over five years, wages are only just beginning to show signs of growth and the cost of living has been mounting all the while. Without Help to Buy, these stumbling blocks may have been too large for some prospective homeowners to overcome.”

The average loan to value (LTV) of a first-time buyer was down 0.4 percentage points from April to 83.2 per cent while mortgage rates had increased from 3.99 per cent in April to 4.09 per cent in May.

First-time buyer sales have fallen 4.5 per cent as tougher lending criteria brought in with the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) begins to bite, according to the report. House purchase approvals fell for the fourth consecutive month in May.

According to Newnes the slowdown is most likely a temporary blip, but there may be some more permanent side-effects.

He said: “Some of the bottom-tier of first-time buyers may find they are no longer eligible to borrow. If [Bank of England] Governor Carney chooses to exercise his new powers over loan-to-income ratios, first-time buyers could be even more significantly affected. MMR encourages the individual investigation of each application but loan-to-income caps are far more simplistic and could lead to a number of worthy first-time buyers missing out on a mortgage.”

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