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It now takes a decade to save for a mortgage deposit

Isobel Lawrance 4th Jul 2023 No Comments

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Saving for a mortgage deposit now takes a decade 

New research by Generation Rent has found that it takes approximately 10 years to save for a mortgage deposit in England. This is a figure that has significantly increased over the last decade. 

In 2012, the average time it took to save a deposit for a mortgage was 6.8 years. It now stands at 9.6 years – nearly a whole decade. Higher rents and house prices have increased the time it takes to save in most of the country, with London worst affected and the North East being least affected overall. 

The research shows that within the North East of England, the time it takes to save for a deposit has not changed much at all in the last decade – with would-be buyers having to save for approximately 4.6 years to get on the property ladder.

London, meanwhile, is the worst affected region. In the past decade alone, the time it takes to save for a deposit in London has risen by an extra 4.3 years, meaning the average time to save in the capital is a staggering 18.3 years. It could be even more for those who don’t live in a shared home during this time.

These increases are in part due to the rent on the median one-bed home across England rising from £495 in 2012 to £725 in 2021. This has partially offset the rise in the median post-tax salary from £16,823 in 2012 to £21,849 in 2021. Similarly, the increase in the price of the average first-time home rose by 72% between 2012 and 2023, to £253,202. 

With ordinary renters facing many more years in the rental market before being in a position to buy, Generation Rent is calling on MPs to back the Renters Reform Bill and make sure that renters are properly protected from unfair evictions and substandard housing. 

To reduce rents and therefore the length of time it takes to save, Generation Rent is calling on the government to build enough homes in the places people want to live, including social housing which will directly help those most in need. 

The higher rents and prices in London meant that in 2012 it already took 14 years to save the average first time buyer deposit of £26,037, and this was based on the median earner only being able to rent in a shared home at 40% of their salary. A one-bed flat at £975 per month would cost 42% of their income so they would likely fail a letting agent’s affordability criteria. 

A decade on, the median rent on a one-bed in London is £1,276, or 48% of the median salary. A renter realistically could only live in a shared house, but even then it would take 18.3 years to raise the average deposit of £45,979. 

In regions like the West Midlands, the leap is especially stark with an increase in the average house price from £119,887 in 2012 to £204,338 in 2021. Even in areas that did not see as great an increase, like Yorkshire and Humber, the average house price increased from £109,599 in 2012 to £175,087 in 2021 meaning a deposit increase from £10,960 to £17,500. 

These increases mean that renters will on average have to rent for longer than ever before being able to accumulate a deposit; the near 20 years it takes to save for a deposit in London for a typical renter means that conditions for those earning less are even worse. 

Ben Twomey, Director, Generation Rent, said: 

‘Most renters dream of owning their home one day, but the struggle to save has got even worse in the past decade. In much of the country, the typical worker faces at least a decade living and saving in the private rented sector before they have a mortgage deposit. That gets close to two decades for Londoners and even then that’s only possible by sharing with other people into their forties.  

‘More people are renting from private landlords for longer stretches of their lives, and want a home that allows them to settle down. That’s why we need the measures in the Renters Reform Bill that will stop landlords evicting tenants without a valid reason, drive out criminal landlords and improve the quality of private rented homes.’ 


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Jasmine Birtles

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Jasmine Birtles

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