Housing crisis looms for first-time buyers

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PEOPLE in Boston looking to buy their own home should prepare to steel themselves for harsh times ahead, after new figures released show just how difficult it is to get a foot on the property ladder.

New statistics from the National Housing Federation suggest that the average first-time buyer in Boston faces around seven years of scrimping and saving before they can put down the desired deposit on one of the cheapest houses in the borough.

The bitter reality presented by the figures is that even through cutting back heavily on lifestyle to save a hefty chunk of each month’s wages, the dream of owning a house may be out of reach for many people living in the area.

According to the federation’s Home Truths report, the average price of a lower value home in Boston is around £90,000.

On average, a person in Boston will earn £17,056 a year – meaning a take-home pay of around £13,645.

With a 20 per cent deposit for a £90,000 house standing at around £18,000, the downpayment alone is 132 per cent of the net income.

When rent, council tax and utilities are paid, it is estimated there is £5,376 left over each year, much of which must be used for food, travel, and extra bills.

Even if a person saved half of that , £2,688, it would take almost seven years to save a deposit, meaning the reality of owning a home is a long way off for many.

In its report, the National Housing Federation said the government should do more to encourage banks to increase mortgage availability and commit to providing more affordable homes.

Chris Spiller, of James Edwards Estate Agents, in Boston told The Standard he agreed that the government needs to step in.

He said: “The level of first-time buyers is starting to get worrying. With mortgage lenders tight lending criteria and the increasing costs of living it’s making it a nearly impossible task for first-time buyers to save a sufficient deposit and get a foot on the housing ladder.”

According to the National Association of Estate Agents, the number of first-time buyers has dropped to its lowest in three years. Just 16 per cent of houses sold in October went to first-time buyers.

Locally, Coun Mike Gilbert, Boston Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing, agreed it was a problem, but added: “It’s all about priorities. There are people who are homeless and can’t provide themselves with decent accommodation in the private sector. Should the local authority put what resources it has into helping these people or those who are renting in good quality accommodation but who want to buy their own homes?”