FIRST-TIME buyers in Yorkshire are being “locked out” of home ownership – despite falling property pricers, a survey claimed.
Figures from housing charity Shelter said that would-be borrowers were being asked to provide bigger deposits by mortgage lenders.
The charity’s annual Roof Affordability Index showed that the average house price for first timers in the region stands at £94,805 – almost £25,000 lower than last year.
But this improvement in affordability was more than offset by an average doubling of the size of the deposit asked for by lenders.
Shelter said the average deposit was £13,194 in September, 2007. The figure for January this year stood at £30,632.
The survey said: “The lack of accessible mortgages is not the only factor holding first time buyers back from entering the market.
“Rising repossessions, unemployment, economic uncertainty and the expectation that house prices may fall further are all having an impact.”
The survey said the number of first-timer loans in 2008 was 194,000 – falling from 358,000 a year earlier.
Shelter chief executive Adam Sampson said: “These new figures show the housing market is far from bouncing back.
“Although house prices are now lower than they have been since 2005, in practice the majority of first-time buyers are no closer to being able to buy their first home.
“The fact that most banks and building societies are reluctant to lend to anyone without a massive deposit means there is a generation of young people and young families being locked out of the housing market.”
The Index measures affordability by comparing mortgage costs against working household incomes and highlights the gap between the cost of housing and what people can afford.
It showed that the average first-time buyer house price in Yorkshire is now £94,805 compared with £104,574 in 2005 and £119,656 last year.
The average monthly mortgage repayment for first time buyers in Yorkshire and Humberside is now £436 against £538 in 2005 and £633 last year.
The survey showed that mortgage repayment costs in Yorkshire and Humberside now swallow up just 12.1% of the average household income compared with 17.3% in 2005 and 18.3% last year.
Said Mr Sampson: “Shelter has always called on banks and building societies to lend responsibly – but some have moved from reckless lending practices to not lending at all.
“However, if the market is to stabilise and house building to resume, a sensible easing of lending to first time buyers is essential.”