Revealed: The barriers keeping first-time buyers off the property ladder

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A new survey has revealed the key reasons first-time buyers are struggling to get a foot on the UK property ladder.

500 people in Scotland were asked what they believe is the single greatest barrier to first-time buyers saving for a deposit on their house – with rent prices, the cost of living and a lack of well-paid employment opportunities taking the top spots.

The study, conducted by Tiles Direct revealed that 35.1% of Scots – and over half of 25-34 year-olds – believe rent is too high to save for a deposit on a house.

The rising cost of living came in second, with 17.5% of respondents declaring this the biggest barrier for first-time buyers – as salaries become more and more thinly stretched.

According to 15.8% of those surveyed, a lack of well-paid job prospects is to blame – with over a third of women in Scotland considering this their greatest hurdle on the path to homeownership.

Generation Rent

Across the board, inflated rent prices were held responsible for the first time buyer’s struggle to save for a deposit – as the average cost of renting in Scotland has reached over £500, according to recent data from Talent Scotland.

As UK house prices continue to outstrip average salaries, the chief executive of housing and homelessness charity Shelter, Campbell Robb, predicts that “Generation Rent will be forced to resign themselves to a life in expensive, unstable private renting”.

The Y factor

While rent and living costs took the lion’s share of the vote, some respondents felt that Generation Y were the architects of their own downfall – with 8.8% blaming the irresponsible spending habits of first-time buyers.

A further 8.8% said that ‘a lack of motivation to save money’ was also a serious barrier to buying a home – and 21% of 55-64 year-olds consider this the root cause.

Surprisingly, 11% of 18-24 year-olds also took this stance – citing an inability to save and reckless spending as two of the primary roadblocks.

12.3% of people held the poor interest rates offered by banks accountable for our inability to scrape together a deposit, as the financial incentive to keep money in the bank hits rock bottom.

Other responses included Scotland’s acute housing shortage, escalating house prices and a domination of the UK property market by rental accommodation.

Topline results

In your opinion, what is the single biggest barrier blocking first-time buyers from saving for a deposit on a house?

Rent is too high to save for a deposit: 35.1%

Higher cost of living: 17.5%

Lack of well-paid employment opportunities: 15.8%

Poor interest rates on savings accounts: 12.3%

Lack of motivation to save money: 8.8%

Irresponsible spending amongst Generation Y: 8.8%

Other: 1.8%