London house prices:single first-time buyers earning the average wage could face saving for up to 68 years for a deposit

Single buyers earning an average London wage will spend anything from five to 68 years saving for a deposit, according to a new report.

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It's hard enough for a couple pooling their wages to get on to the property ladder in London. Now, a new report reveals it's practically impossible to buy in some areas if you're single.

The analysis compares average house prices and wages for every London borough. It shows how out of reach the most affluent areas of the capital, such as Kensington & Chelsea, are for Londoners looking to buy on their own.

It would take a a ridiculous 68 years to save for a deposit in this part of London, where wages average £38,000 and homes sell for an average of £1.3 million.

Even in London's most affordable boroughs, such as Barking and Dagenham, house prices average £289,000. This means a single buyer on a typical wage of £28,000 would need to save for five years for a 10 per cent deposit.

How quickly could you save for a deposit?

First work out deposit needed:
Property price x 0.05 = Amount needed for a 5% deposit

Property price x 0.1 =  Amount needed for a 10% deposit

Property price x 0.2 = Amount needed for a 20% deposit

Then work out how long it will take you to save:
Deposit ÷ Monthly saving amount ÷ 12 = Number of years it will take to save

That's assuming the buyer can put aside 20 per cent of their pre-tax salary - £466 a month - which is hardly realistic for many of the capital's tenants who regularly face spending almost 70 per cent of their wages on rent.

Reducing savings to five per cent of total wages - £116 a month - would mean a first-timer would be able to put down a deposit in 21 years. But even that's a stretch for renters who need to cover other essential costs such as travel, bills and food. That's, of course, assuming property prices don't significantly rise in the intervening years.

“These figures show the very real challenge facing those who want to get on the property ladder in the UK," says Pippa Watmough, founder of Piggyback Property, which compiled the latest figures.

"With house prices rising in many cities, and increasing difficulty in growing your savings, it can be easy for people to feel that owning a home is more of a dream than a potential reality."

Five ways to get on the property ladder
1. Some lenders offer 95 per cent mortgages - including Halifax, NatWest and Santander. This halves the amount qualifying buyers need to save.

2. The Help to Buy scheme is another way to lower the deposit to five per cent, using an equity loan from the government.

3. Shared-ownership homes allow those hoping to get on the ladder to buy a 25 per cent share in a new-build property and slowly build up the proportion they own.

4. Save using a first-time buyer ISA account, which means the government will boost savings by 25 per cent. They offer a £50 bonus (up to a maximum of £3,000) for every £200 saved.

5. Buying with a partner or a friend could halve all costs, but this obviously means a big commitment to live together.

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