The deposit trap has become the greatest single obstacle to aspiring first-time home owners in London. First Direct calculates the average deposit needed now stands at a mighty £65,000.
And, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation think tank, this means that a low to middle-income couple, without parental support, would need to save up for 54 years. All of which makes the package being offered at a new east London development sound almost too good to be true.
'There is a benefit to coming into an area in the early stages of regeneration - people can see its potential'
The first phase of the award-winning East City Point in Canning Town will provide just over 100 new homes, from one-bedroom flats to three-bedroom townhouses.
The developer, Countryside Properties, has structured a shared-equity deal so buyers need pay only a £1,000 reservation fee now, and will have until next summer to save for the remainder of their deposit, which starts at £6,600. "We are trying to make it as easy and affordable as possible for people," says spokesman Guy Lambert.
This is a scheme aimed at buyers without savings in the bank, but who can afford substantial monthly payments. For example, to buy a one-bedroom flat with a market value of £165,000, purchasers need to find 80 per cent of that - £132,000 - themselves.
This means a five per cent deposit of £6,600 plus a mortgage for £125,000. Having paid the reservation fee, they then have until the flats are completed, next year, to save the rest of the cash for their deposit. They can choose either to pay Countryside in increments or leave the money in the bank and pay a lump sum next year.
Once in situ, the buyer then has a decade to pay off the other 20 per cent of the property. For a one-bedroom flat this would effectively be a £33,000 interest-free loan. If they kept the flat for the full 10 years that would work out at £275 a month, on top of their mortgage.
If they want to move on earlier than that, they can repay Countrywide the balance when they sell up.
There are a handful of family-size homes too, including three-bedroom townhouses with an 80 per cent sharedequity stake of £275,000.
The key advice to anyone considering a shared-equity or shared-ownership deal is to do their maths: factor in mortgage payments, service charges and any loan repayments or rental payments with great care to make sure you wouldn't simply be better off renting.
And East City Point has other, more specific, issues to weigh up. In the 1850s Charles Dickens visited Canning Town and was horrified by what he saw.
The writer described a marshy, foetid wasteland full of "offensive" polluting factories, cheaply built, overcrowded housing and pox-ridden residents. Fast forward 160 years and things are nothing like as bad as in Dickens's day but the area is still a cause for concern, regularly cited as one of the poorest and most deprived spots in the UK. It is, to put it bluntly, a bit on the grotty side.
On the plus side, East City Point has already received a RIBA Housing Design award and is a short walk from Canning Town station ( Jubilee line and Docklands Light Railway), which offers quick connections to both Canary Wharf and Stratford. This helps make up for the lack of shops, bars and restaurants on the doorstep. The City and the West End are both easy commutes, as is London City Airport.
'East City Point residents may benefit from getting in on the ground floor of a major regeneration zone'
And Canning Town (along with neighbouring Custom House, where a new Crossrail station opens in 2018) is also the focus of a £3.7 billion regeneration drive. When later phases of East City Point are complete in around 2018 it will include 649 homes, plus a new school.
The area's Rathbone Market is also in line for a major £180million revamp, with another 651 homes, plus shops and an enlarged market planned. The first phase, 271 homes, will complete next summer.
Meanwhile, French construction giant Bouygues Development is planning a separate £600 million regeneration of a 16-acre brownfield site opposite Canning Town station with more than 1,000 homes, shops, offices and leisure space.
Though East City Point residents must resign themselves to living with major building work on their doorsteps for the foreseeable future, they may benefit from getting in on the ground floor of a major regeneration zone. "There is obviously a lot of investment to come into the area and there is a benefit to coming into an area in the early stages of regeneration," said Lambert.
"Is there a risk element? Of course there is, but it will attract people who can see its potential. You are not going to have all the new facilities in place right away, but a lot of things are not that far away."
For more information on East City Point, visit east-city.co.uk.