Never been a better time for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder

21 Dec 2011

Reporting in the Daily Mirror "there's never been a better time for first-time buyers to make their move and get a foot on the property ladder."

Three main reasons are given. First, mortgage interest rates for those who need 90% mortgages 1 are at an eight-year low, dipping below 4% with some lenders. Second, house prices are at their most affordable since 2007, while rents keep on increasing. And third, from 24 March 2012, the temporary exemption for first-time buyers from Stamp Duty ends, meaning up to a further £2,500 that they have to find.  

But what about the availability of the mortgage to a first-time buyer? The national media would have you believe they are impossible to obtain.

Speaking to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) who specialises in mortgages must be the first port of call. At Trethowans, we can recommend some superb advisers, who can professionally deal with the myriad of mazes that some Lenders create, and simplify what has become a paper puzzle for even the most experienced financial novices tempted to DIY.

Mortgage Lenders are offering more and more deals that are aimed at ­first-time buyers with lower deposits. Only recently the FSA have announced that lenders are to approach lending in a far more sensible way encouraging better money management with schemes that require proof of earnings, ability to repay if interest rates rise, and an actual plan to repay capital.

Andrew Hagger, from is reported as saying: "With the cost of renting reaching record levels, it makes sense to consider home ownership as an alternative, particularly as rates for those with lower deposits keep falling."

How to increase your chances of getting a mortgage

The Mirror suggest 6 practical ways you can increase your own chances of securing a mortgage.

  1. Check your credit file – Find out what lenders will discover about you, so you know there are no nasties lurking around before you apply for a mortgage. There are three main credit-­reference agencies: Experian, Equifax and ­Callcredit. You can get a copy of your credit report from any of them for a small fee – most of them let you sign up online for a free trial." Void paying for such a report.
  2. Register to vote – If you are not on the electoral roll, you may find it more difficult to get credit. Lenders verify identities by checking the electoral role. To register, go to to download a form.
  3. Cancel unused credit cards or accounts – Unused credit limits will increase the amount of credit you have available and could reduce your credit score and scare lenders off.
  4. Keep up payments – It sounds simple, but you must make sure you are never late with payments on all credit agreements you have. Late or missed payments or CCJs will leave black marks and damage your credit rating.
  5. Get into the savings habit – Set up a regular savings account to get you into the habit of paying out each month and to improve your standing and give you a buffer against unexpected events.
  6. Build relationships – Lenders are often happier to lend to customers who have an existing ­relationship with them. If you have a current account with a bank or building society, you may find that it is easier to get a mortgage with the same lender. It may have special offers and discounted rates for existing customers. If this is not the case, consider moving your current account and savings to your preferred lender.