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Home ownership a distant dream for millions of renters

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Nearly half of renters believe they will never own their own home, according to a survey by the Post Office. 

It found that 45 per cent of renters in the UK, equivalent to around nine million people, thought they would never get on the property ladder.

Of those who do hope to buy their own home, the average age of getting on the property ladder has risen to 36, up from 35 last year, suggesting rising house prices and the slow upturn in the economy remain challenges for first-time buyers.

Raising a deposit is perceived as the biggest barrier to securing a place on the property ladder, with renters believing it will take an average of eight and a half years to save a deposit.

While this figure has fallen from 10 years in 2012 and nine years in 2014, 10 per cent expect to wait for over a decade – and 28 per cent believe they will never be able to afford a deposit unless their circumstances dramatically change in future.

The figures suggest regional variations among renter expectations, with 51 per cent of would-be buyers in the West Midlands, 59 per cent in the South East and 63 per cent in the East of England and South West believing they will rent for life.

In terms of funding a deposit, 31 per cent say they would save the full amount themselves, 25 per cent will take advantage of the government’s Help to Buy scheme, and others will rely on loved ones with help from their parents (13 per cent) or a partner (19 per cent).

Of those who don’t currently own a property, 46 per cent say they would be encouraged by a fall in house prices, though this may still be a long way off as prices are still on the up. Lower interest rates would lead 24 percent of non-home owners to buy, while the re-introduction of no stamp duty for first time buyers would encourage 14 per cent to take the leap.

“It is clear there is still a long way to go to inspire confidence in the first time buyers’ market, with nine million feeling they won’t ever be able to buy their own property,” said John Willcock, head of mortgages at Post Office Money.

“The size of a deposit is clearly the biggest hurdle people face, with only 31 per cent expecting to be able to raise the money alone.”

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