Young couples struggle to get on housing ladder - but want to sort it before marriage and kids

Young couples are delaying marriage and starting a family as they struggle to get on the housing ladder.

A study of 500 adults looking to buy a property in the next three years found major life milestones are being postponed in order to afford to buy a home.

A quarter are delaying tying the knot, while 15 per cent don’t want to have children until they have secured their bricks and mortar.

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It emerged a third are avoiding buying a new car and 55 per cent aren’t going on holidays.

Ben Merritt, director of mortgages for Yorkshire Building Society, which commissioned the research, said: “Would-be borrowers are facing some particular challenges at the moment when it comes to getting on the property ladder, due to factors like the high cost of living and interest rate rises squeezing their affordability.

“However, our research shows the great British love affair with homeownership lives on, so much so that people are prepared to make greater sacrifices - than just cutting down on nights out or making lunch instead of buying it – in order to achieve it.

“In fact, they are even putting off major life events like their education, having a family or a much-needed break from work, to afford to buy their own place.”

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Easing financial outlay

The research found those looking for a property expect to be able to buy their first home just over 35 years old.

The average deposit now stands at a staggering £31,916 - rising to £44,128 in London - and will take nearly five years to save for.

Among the prospective purchasers who are receiving money from family, the average amount they expect to get is £18,047 – more than half of their overall deposit.

But 64 per cent are looking to buy with their partner to ease the financial outlay.

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The study found 53 per cent said their main driver when it comes to purchasing a home is to stop wasting money on rent.

Other motivating factors included wanting to invest in a property (38 per cent) and wanting a place to settle down and start a family (34 per cent).

First steps for the future

First-time buyers are optimistic about the rate at which they will pay their mortgages off, estimating it will take them just over 23 years on average.

Meanwhile 43 per cent of those polled said it’s more important to them to have a shorter mortgage, than initial lower mortgage payments.

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Ben added: “Some of our findings are pretty stark and people are clearly having to make life-changing decisions.

“However, we can also see that owning a home is still important to them and they are determined to find ways of doing so.

“By the same token, some of the choices would-be borrowers are making could be seen as positive signs of a return to more traditional values, too.

“Buying a house is the biggest financial commitment most of us ever make, and it’s good that people are taking this seriously in the kinds of ways which were perhaps more typical a few decades ago, before the recent era of unusually cheap credit.

“The first step in any journey is often the hardest, but also the most important, and it’s vital that as many people as possible get that opportunity.”

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