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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 11:50 GMT
Gulf for first-time buyers widens
Flats for sale
First time buyers are finding it harder to get on the property ladder
The average first-time buyer in Scotland is now taking four-and-a-half years to save for a 5% deposit on a home, according to research.

A study found the rise is on average 12 months longer than last year.

National Savings and Investment also found the average price of a first home had risen by 12% to more than 106,000.

But despite the long wait, people still fare better than in other parts of the UK. The Scottish Executive said it was acting to help first-time buyers.

The NS&I findings suggested Scotland had experienced a particularly strong growth in property prices over the past year.

The 12% average price rise in first time buyer property was one of the highest percentage growths recorded across all UK regions.

It was also almost twice the UK average of 6.5%.

Traditionally, Scottish first-time buyers have benefited from relatively low house prices
Dax Harkins
National Savings and Investment

However, it was found that house buyers elsewhere in the UK were paying on average 40,000 more for their first property.

The report showed that average first-time buyer incomes had also risen over the same period, but at a slower rate of 9.3%, leaving a widening gap between prices and affordability.

Dax Harkins, senior savings strategist at NS&I, said first-time buyers were finding it more difficult than ever to get a foot on the property ladder.

He added: "Traditionally, Scottish first-time buyers have benefited from relatively low house prices.

'Low incomes'

"However, the cost of purchasing a first home has been steadily creeping up and our data shows that Scotland had the highest annual increase in the time it takes to save for a 5% deposit.

"While it is unlikely that prices in Scotland will ever reach the same highs as areas such as London, lower incomes in this region mean that first-time buyers find it just as difficult to get their foot on the property ladder and need to save harder than ever to achieve this goal."

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "Homestake, the executive's scheme to help first-time buyers and other people on low incomes get their foot on the property ladder was launched earlier this year.

Many first-time buyers are burdened with massive student debts, and face several years paying inflated private rents or living with their parents before finding a place on the property ladder
Colin Fox
Scottish Socialist Party leader

"Administered by the housing agency Communities Scotland, we expect when fully up and running to help 1,000 people a year, who otherwise couldn't afford it, get the keys to their own home."

Scottish Socialist Party leader Colin Fox said he was not surprised by the predicament of first-time buyers.

He said: "Many first-time buyers are burdened with massive student debts, and face several years paying inflated private rents or living with their parents before finding a place on the property ladder.

"Tens of thousands of Scots of all ages live in inadequate housing, excluded from the property ladder and unable to secure good quality social housing which meets their needs.

"Over 400,000 homes in Scotland have been taken out of the public sector by right to buy. Isn't it about time the executive listened to this, and started funding good quality public housing?"


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SEE ALSO:
Fear over first-time buyer sales
03 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Housing price gap 'is narrowing'
21 Oct 05 |  Scotland
Scottish 1m house sales double
16 Sep 05 |  Scotland
House prices continue to increase
09 Aug 05 |  Scotland
'More caution' in housing market
29 Jul 05 |  Scotland


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