Homeowners tighten belts to maintain repayments

Robyn Hall

January 17, 2013

The survey revealed that almost a third (32%) of homeowners in the UK believed they will have to cut back while 66% are confident they will not have to tighten their belts and 2% are unsure.

And of the 33% most believed they would need to reduce the amount spent on hobbies and socialising (82%), clothing (78%) and groceries (68%).

Ben Thompson, managing director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said the figures were concerning but not surprising.

He said: “Ensuring that homeowners budget appropriately to meet the needs of mortgage repayments is very sensible although the fact that so many intend to cut back on groceries and clothing shows that austerity is still biting up and down the country.”

Those in Wales (46%) and the North West (43%) felt the most likely to need to cut back to make ends meet on the mortgage while those in the West Midlands (20%) and East Anglia (23%) were least concerned.

The survey also looked at the aspirations of first-time buyers in the coming year and whether they felt confident they would be able to save for a deposit in 2013.

Of those surveyed 44% were hoping to save enough money to put a deposit on a home in the first six months of 2013 and 14% were hoping to save enough to be able to make a purchase in the second half of the year while 13% were just happy to start saving for a deposit in 2013.

Finally a quarter (25%) of first-time buyers surveyed are looking to pay off debts in 2013 to be ready to start saving for a deposit in 2014.

Thompson said: “In a recent report we commissioned in conjunction with CEBR, A New Normal in the Housing Market, we examined when the housing market would return to normal and what that normal would look like.”

The findings revealed that the housing market will remain broadly flat in 2013 and base rate is unlikely to rise from its current position of 0.5%.

But there are some positive signs as by mid 2013 house prices should start to climb reaching their 2007 peak of £227,000 by 2015.

The mortgage market does look set to benefit in the first half of the year too from fierce price competition on lower loan to value products and the number of re-mortgages approved is also likely to increase in this year.

Thompson added: “It is encouraging that so many first-time buyers also seem determined to build up deposits over the course of 2013.

“Unfortunately the picture is still difficult for them as there will still be a lack of suitable housing supply. House purchase therefore looks set to remain quite flat in 2013 and still significantly lower than historical averages. It would help if the Government were able to increase its focus on building new, affordable homes to help these people get a foot on the ladder.”

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