Page last updated at 02:28 GMT, Saturday, 18 April 2009 03:28 UK

First time homeowners locked out

Estate agent's window
Mortgage repayments now cost first time buyers 445 a month on average

First-time buyers are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder in Scotland despite falling house prices, according to new figures.

The average house cost for first-time buyers is now £96,835, a drop of more than 13% since reaching a peak of £111,768 in 2007.

But the average deposit required has risen from £2,323 in 2000 to £19,367 in January 2009.

The figures were published in research from housing charity Shelter Scotland.

The charity said a shortage of affordable housing and difficulties in securing mortgages had prevented first-time buyers reaping the benefits of falling property prices.

Rising numbers of home repossessions, unemployment and uncertainty caused by the recession were also blamed for holding buyers back.

The number of first-time loans granted in the last three months of 2008 was almost half the amount granted in the same period in 2007.

'Housing crisis'

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "At a time when house prices are falling and interest rates are at historic lows, a new generation should be able to buy a house.

"Instead, a squeeze on lending is leaving people locked out of the housing market.

"Couple this with the hundreds of thousands on waiting lists or in temporary accommodation and it is clear there is no light at the end of the dark tunnel that is Scotland's housing crisis."

He called for lenders to re-examine their policies and for both the UK and Scottish governments to make building homes a priority.

Shelter Scotland's Roof Affordability Index for 2009 also indicates that house prices in Scotland have fallen less than in the UK as a whole.

First-time buyers now spend an average of £445 a month on mortgage repayments, representing 11.2% of the household income.

In 2000 the average repayment was £252, or 9.6% of their income.

Print Sponsor

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