One in three graduates struggling with deposits

Ramesh Sharma

February 18, 2006

The research showed graduates are relying more and more on help from their parents when they are buying their first home.

According to the survey, one in three graduates had to get money from parents to fund their deposit, while 21 per cent said adopting this approach would help them get onto the ladder.

With the latest Council of Mortgage Lenders data stating the median age for first-time buyers is 29, potentially eight years after a student graduates, Scottish Widows Bank’s results emphasis the problems faced by university leavers.

Murdo McHardy, head of product development and marketing at Scottish Widows Bank, commented: “It’s clear there is an ongoing struggle for graduates to take that first step onto the housing ladder and, with house prices at historically high levels, it’s not getting any easier. Even those graduates that have been working for several years are forced to borrow money from friends and family.”

The problem is set to worsen as university tuition fees will go up from £1,175 a year to £3,000 a year from this September, meaning future graduates will be burdened with more debt than current ones.

A fifth of graduates also said lenders shouldn’t let student debts affect the mortgage decision and this will surely rise as debt levels grow.

Sarah Gwilt, mortgage adviser at Dickson Lishman Prince, believed the future looks bleak. “I don’t know what can be done to help but I think we are moving towards the European model of renting for a long time before buying a house. Gone are the days when you were 21 and you could save up £3,000 and have your 5 per cent deposit. Also, credit card bills and other debts young people have today make it more difficult for them to afford to buy.”

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