First time buyers face hardest struggle ever after 10-year house price rise for would-be home owners
17 April 2008
Would-be first time buyers face the hardest struggle ever to get onto the property ladder in Scotland - despite reports of a slow-down in the property market north of the border - as new figures out today show a sustained rise in first time property prices.
New research released today (Thursday) from leading housing and homelessness charity Shelter shows it is 65 per cent harder for first time buyers to buy a house than ten years ago, and that overall house prices in Scotland for first time buyers have risen almost 180 per cent in ten years.
The new figures show - despite recent reports that the Scottish property market could face a downturn - that buying a house for the first time is more unaffordable than ever.
The annual ROOF Affordability Index assesses housing affordability in a much more sophisticated way than most indices. It does this by comparing mortgage costs against household incomes, taking account of interest rate changes, and highlights the gap between what people can afford and the growing cost of housing.
It comes as Shelter Scotland announces details of a summit to look at the prospects for the Scottish housing market. Professor Steve Wilcox, who compiled the ROOF Affordability Index, is one of the experts speaking at the Shelter event, ‘The Scottish Housing Bubble’, on May 22.
Archie Stoddart, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "Despite the column inches dedicated recently to a downturn in house prices south of the border, and a possible slow down in Scotland, this long term comparison shows the real story is that housing is out of the reach of many would-be buyers.
"Any fall in prices would be a drop in the ocean for those looking to buy in Scotland after an almost 180 per cent rise in prices over the last ten years. The stark reality for many first time buyers is that as mortgage lenders tighten their belts in the current financial climate, it will become increasingly difficult to buy."
The ROOF Affordability Index shows that in Scotland, while the average weekly income of working households has risen from £548 in 1997 to £851 now (a 55 per cent increase) - the average first time buyer property has rocketed from £38,845 ten years ago to £108,446 at present (a rise of almost 180 per cent).
Mr Stoddart added: "We must ensure that buying is not the only option for those looking for their first home. We cannot afford to put more people at risk of repossession from over stretching themselves to get onto the property ladder. We must make sure that we provide for those who cannot buy by having a stock of good quality, affordable rented housing, both in the social and private sector."
The ROOF Affordability Index’s main findings for Scotland are:
- Taking 1997 as the base year at 100, by 2007 the Index rises to 165.2 - meaning it is 65 per cent harder for first time buyers to buy a house in 2007 than it was ten years previously.
- The average first time buyers’ property in Scotland cost around £108,446 in 2007, compared to £38,845 ten years ago - an almost 180 per cent hike.
- Mortgage repayment costs swallowed up 15.2 per cent of the average household’s income in 2007, compared with 9.2 per cent in 1997.
- The average monthly mortgage repayment is now £563, compared to £219 ten years ago.
In response to the growing problems in the housing market, Shelter Scotland has brought together key commentators on Scottish housing and the economy to look at both the state of the Scottish housing market and its possible future. For more information about the May 22 summit, visit www.shelter.org.uk/housingbubble
Notes to Editors
- This press release relates to Scotland only. For the UK wide press release, please contact the media team in London on 020 7505 2162
- Shelter believes everyone should have a home and helps 170,000 people a year fight for their rights, get back on their feet, and find and keep a home. We also tackle the root causes of Britain's housing crisis by campaigning for new laws, policies and solutions.
- Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
- For more information about Shelter visit www.shelter.org.uk