New first-time buyers need to save until 2028 to raise a deposit
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New first-time buyers need to save until 2028 to raise a deposit


In Q1 2017 it would take a single first -time buyer 11 years and three months to save a 15% deposit for their first home.  That means they wouldn’t be able to move in until the spring of 2028.  Sharing rent and spending means that that a couple can save faster.  In Q1 2017 it would take six years and three months, meaning they could set up home by the spring of 2023. 

But once first-time buyers leap the deposit hurdle, the affordability of buying has improved markedly. The ability to buy index, which shows the change in the size of the financial cushion first-time buyers have left after tax, national insurance, spending on essentials and paying the mortgage, is now 139 compared with the 2007 average of 100.  

The improvement primarily reflects the fall in mortgage rates from 6% to 2% over the period.  Lower house prices in some parts of the country also play a part.  But the rising costs of essentials, due to inflation, is beginning to eat into household incomes.

Time to Save Index key findings for Q1 2017:

  • The average length of time for a single first-time buyer to save a 15% deposit in Q1 2017 was 11 years and three months, up from 10 and a half years in Q1 2016.  The increase reflects how rising house prices have outpaced the growth in incomes.
  • The average time for a couple to save a 15% deposit in Q1 2017 was six and a quarter years compared with five years, 9 months in Q4 2016.  
  • A single Londoner hoping to buy for the first time would need to save for 17 years and nine months to raise a 15% deposit – up from 17 years and a half years at the end of 2016.  They wouldn’t be able to move in until the end of 2034. 
  • A London couple would need 10 years and nine months – just three months longer than in Q4 2016 and allowing them to move in by the end of 2027.
  • Ability to buy has improved in every region in the last decade, except for London, where house price growth has far outstripped growth in incomes and wiped out the effect of lower interest rates.
  • In the North East, house prices have still not recovered to their pre-crisis peak.  This combined with lower mortgage rates contributes significantly to the improvement in ability to buy.
  • Ability to buy in the South West has improved most since 2007, but this reflects the difference in timing rather than the performance in the region.  It was harder to buy in the South West than in other regions in 2007, but it caught up in 2009.  Like other regions it has been on a slow upward trend.

Fionnuala Earley, Residential Research Director at Hamptons International said:

“Saving a deposit is still the biggest barrier to buying a first home.  It takes a single person more than 11 years to save up in current conditions.  But once over that hurdle, falling mortgage rates have taken the pressure off first-time buyers over the last 10 years.  Their ability to afford a mortgage after tax, rent and spending on essentials, has improved across the whole country – with the exception of London where ability to buy has seriously deteriorated since the start of 2012.

“While it’s encouraging that new buyers now have a greater financial cushion than a decade ago when they buy a home, the time it takes to save a deposit still prevents many from realising their dream without outside help.”


For further information please contact

Alison Blease

Press Office, Hamptons International

Tel: 0776 967 7825


Fionnuala Earley

Residential Research Director, Hamptons International

Tel: 07760 163 120



1.The Time to Save index takes into account how much money first-time buyers have left to save out of their incomes, after tax, National Insurance, rent, council tax and spending on essential of food, transport and utility bills.  It assumes that households can save 22% of this remaining income towards a deposit.

  1. We assume that wages and house prices increase in line with OBR forecasts and that households also gain a premium for career progression as they age. 
  1. We assume the first-time buyer average house price is c85% of the regional average house price.
  1. We use mean full time earnings from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) to more accurately affect the cohort that are likely to buy. This roughly represents the top 65% of earners.
  1. We use ASHE to adjust mean full time earnings to the 20-29 age to reflect the age of first time purchasers.
  2. Time to Save is based on the time it takes for a buyer saving for a deposit from today.

 About Hamptons International

Hamptons International is a leading residential estate agent and property services organisation, operating in London and the South of the UK.  With more than 140 years of experience in the property market and a commitment to industry innovation and exceptional levels of customer service, Hamptons International today offers a wealth of award-winning services including UK and international Sales, Lettings, Property Management, Corporate Services, Residential Development, Development Land, Valuation and Property Finance.                                                           

Hamptons International has an international network of more than 85 offices and is a subsidiary of Countrywide, the UK’s largest estate agency and property services group. 

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