First-Time Buyers, Like Me, Shouldn't Have to Rely on 'The Bank of Mum and Dad'

04/05/2016 17:24

I'm in the process of buying a flat. It should be an exciting time where I gush about my new kitchen to anyone who'll listen. But instead, I've barely told anybody that I'm about to leave the world of renting behind.

Like thousands of twenty-somethings around the UK, I've been helped out by "the bank of mum and dad" - or in my case, the bank of four parents and a grandparent - and I'm a little bit embarrassed about it.

For a start, I feel like a spoilt brat because my loved ones are making sacrifices to help my boyfriend and I get on the property ladder when we should be old enough to look after ourselves.

I also feel my cheeks flush when work colleagues in their 30s talk about the impossibility of buying, knowing that I've just had an offer accepted at the age of 24.

On top of all that, I feel ashamed for moaning about all of the above because I know that I am in an incredibly fortunate position.

But after seeing the latest statistics around gifted deposits, my embarrassment is rapidly turning into anger at the state of the housing market. I've realised I'm far from alone.

New research estimates that parents will help finance 25% of UK mortgage transactions this year - that's more than 300,000 mortgages.

Considering the numbers, it's not all that surprising that Barclay's has just launched a zero deposit deal for first-time buyers. The catch being that a "helper" - usually the home buyer's parents - has to put cash equating to 10% of the house purchase price into a savings account linked to the mortgage.

I understand why Barclay's has created the deal, but the fact that it even exists infuriates me. We shouldn't be encouraging an economy that depends upon first-time buyers relying on their parents. The government should be empowering young professionals to stand on their own two feet.

Yes, I realise schemes like the Help to Buy Isas are designed to do just that, but when banks such as Halifax are slashing their Help to Buy rates after less than six months, you can hardly rely on them to buy you a house.

I am a journalist, my boyfriend is a teacher - if we can't cobble together a deposit without the help of our family, what hope is there for people in less stable or less well-paid jobs?

Affordable housing is at such a crisis point that estate agents are having a field day. Almost every time we viewed a property, there was at least another pair of prospective buyers walking around at the same time as us.

More often than not, the other buyers were in their fifties, clearly looking to add a second, perhaps third, buy-to-let property to their portfolio. It made my blood boil to I'd listen to them calmly discussing potential rental income.

I'm not convinced that the new stamp duty laws will really deter buy-to-let landlords from snapping up every one and two bed flat in the land.

When you put the eloquent speeches from politicians aside and actually look at the figures, the changes have increased the stamp duty tax on a £275,000 buy-to-let purchase from £3,750 to £12,000.

If you're anywhere near considering buying a second property, I doubt the difference will really make a difference to you. After all, you can just put the rent up for your tenants, right?

Personally, I'd like to see a ban on second home owners snapping up new developments altogether.

No, I'm not an economist and I don't have all the answers, but when two professionals have no hope of getting a mortgage without the support of their entire family, clearly something needs to change.