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August 6, 2010    

First-time buyer numbers hit 35-year low

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by Gill Montia

There are fewer first-time buyers in England and Wales than at any time in the last 35 years.

Research from the Home Builders’ Federation (HBF) also suggests that nearly a third of men and a fifth of women aged 20 to 34 are still living at home with parents, as the average age of an unassisted first-time buyer hits 37.

Many are locked out of the mortgage market by lenders’ demands for high deposits and the trade body is urging the Government not to axe funding for the HomeBuy Direct scheme in next month’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

The initiative allows buyers to overcome the deposit gap by funding only 70% of a property’s purchase price, with the Homes and Communities Agency and home builder each funding 15%.

According to the Federation, the scheme has helped 10,000 first-time buyers onto the property ladder over the last two years.

HBF executive chairman, Stewart Baseley, says: “Ministers have made a commitment to aspiration and we need Government to follow through on that promise.”

Back in June, Housing Minister Grant Shapps pledged support for first-time buyers announcing: “Most people still want to own their own homes and I want people to know that this government will support them in that.”

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