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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Graduates face home ownership woe
Young people looking at a house
For many graduates property ownership is a distant dream
More than half of all graduates say they cannot afford to buy a home, a Scottish Widows survey suggests.

High house prices combined with student debts are pushing property ownership out of the reach of many.

Of the 3,500 people surveyed, 10% believe they will never be able to afford their own property.

Out of those graduates who have bought a home with a partner, 68% said they would not be able to afford to buy the other out in the event of a split.

"This leaves graduates in a real catch-22 situation. Do they wait until they can buy on their own, or buy with a partner when they are not quite ready?" said Murdo McHardy, Scottish Widows spokesman.

"With no exit route in place, graduates need to realise the real commitment of getting on the property ladder."

High house prices are the greatest barrier to buying a home, with 60% of graduates saying that they do not earn enough to obtain a sufficiently large mortgage.

In addition, almost a third said they could not save enough for a deposit, with many having to pay off a large student debt.

Buoyant market

The most recent housing market data indicates that things are unlikely to get any easier for hard-pressed first-time buyers.

On Wednesday, the Halifax said that UK house prices rose by 1% in September and have risen by 8% in the past year.

Halifax added that a strong economy and record high levels of employment would "continue to support a healthy housing market over the coming months".

According to the group, the average UK house price is now 181,186.

Have you been affected by issues covered in this story? Send us your comments using the form below.

We are also looking to interview the following house-buyers:

Shared ownership or key worker purchaser; individuals with high multiple mortgage; people buying with friends or receiving help from family.

If you would be happy to be interviewed by a BBC journalist please reply enclosing a contact phone number (this will not be published).

Your comments

I had a long term plan to get on the property ladder
Jack Skinner, Bristol

I graduated 4 years ago with an engineering degree, I was lucky and found a job straight away. Whilst at uni I was always very careful with my money. I worked long hours in the summer holidays to pay of my overdraft and other debts. Once I started working I set up a direct debit to a savings account. I had a long term plan to get on the property ladder. I knew that my parent would not be able to help, so looked at other ways. 4 months ago my brother and I bought our 1st home. It is a stretch but with careful planning and consideration it can be achieved.
Jack Skinner, Bristol

I graduated uni 5 years ago and did the usual thing of travelling for a bit and then renting with my girlfriend. We have now split up and I'm backing living at home as I cannot afford to rent anymore. I am saving for a house but with house prices so high I really don't know when I will afford one. I have a good job with Essex Police. However, I don't qualify for a key worker scheme as I'm not one of the specified posts. My parents have offered to help me out but I would still struggle to get anything.
Tom Newman, Benfleet, Essex

My wife and I are currently buying a house together in Leeds. We have only just got married, are both graduates in good jobs and yet we are still struggling to get on the 1st rung. We thought we had found the perfect house at the right price, then right on the day of completion the vendor decided not to sell. He thought he could get more money if he put it back on the market and therefore demanded a substantial increase on our original offer in order to complete the deal. This almost felt like being gazumped, except there was no other party involved.
Daniel Prendergast, Leeds

I graduated 3 years ago, am employed in a good job with a well-known employer, and yet I still do not earn enough to afford a house. The majority of my friends who graduated at the same time as me are in the same situation. I didn't have a student loan so I can afford to save a deposit, but when it comes to paying a mortgage, I cannot get a mortgage alone. I am single, and do not wish to live with a lodger, so this forces me into renting. I do not see an end to this situation in the foreseeable future.
Andrew Trevers, Nottingham

I graduated 6 years ago and I'm only buying my first place now. I concentrated on paying off my debts which I did in 3 years so I could save for a deposit. My savings plus promotions at work have enabled me to buy a place. The problem with new graduates is that they expect everything now. They want to have nice clothes, nice car, go out drinking but are not prepared to moderate their spending to get on the property ladder. You have to work and save hard to get rewards and many are not prepared to put in that extra effort.
Helen, Brighton

I graduated three years ago, and have been employed in central London for two years. My parents helped me to buy a flat last year - without their help there is no way I could have afforded even a studio flat in London. I am now in the position of paying over 50% of my income against my mortgage, about 10% in service charges, 6-7% to pay off my student loan as well as the usual run of council tax, utility bills and major works charges for my flat. I admit I choose to pay extra pension contributions but this leaves me with very little chance of saving or in fact, (God forbid!) enjoying being young.
P. Johnson, London

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