Saving up for a deposit is often cited as the main issue facing first-time-buyers, a stumbling block that is continually compounded by rapidly escalating house prices.
The latest data analysis from retirement finance experts, Key, reveals that those who are attempting to get their first property are being given a generous leg-up onto the ladder by their grandparents.
According to the figures, older homeowners gifted an average of £42,500 to younger relatives to help them get on or move up the property ladder in 2020 - equating to almost two-thirds of the average first-time buyer deposit of £57,278.
Older homeowners in London (£102,826), South East (£61,500) and Wales (£44,200) were the most generous while those in the North West (£23,467) and Yorkshire (£25,217) were less so.
That said, more modest house prices in these regions meant that first-time buyers still benefitted from 76% of the average deposit needed in Yorkshire (£33,313) and 67% of the average deposit required in the North West (£34,347).
Interestingly in four areas - Wales, the East Midlands, Northern Ireland and the North East - the average gift from property wealth was higher than the average needed by a first-time buyer. This seems to suggest that in these regions some people who relied on family funding were able to put down a larger deposit, purchased a more expensive property or undertake renovations.
Helping family is a major motivation
Helping younger family members is a major motivation for equity release customers with £755 million of the £3.4 billion in property wealth released last year used for gifting.
The Stamp Duty holiday on all purchases up to £500,000, currently scheduled to end on March 31st, was a major driver with 43% of these gifts used for housing deposits and 26% for an early inheritance – some of which was possibly used for other types of property costs.
Will Hale, CEO at Key, comments: “Finding almost £60,000 to use as a deposit for your first home is tough – especially in the current economic environment - and therefore it’s not surprising that many younger people have looked to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday. In 2020, older homeowners released almost £755 million of equity in order to help younger members of their family meet a range of costs including supporting them with an average of £42,500 to use for a house deposit.
“For many people, these gifts will have been the enabler to them buying their first home and is a perfect example of how intergenerational wealth transfer can deliver positive societal benefits. The stamp duty holiday has certainly been a catalyst for more activity in this area but helping family is always a major motivation for older homeowners exploring their equity release options.
”That said, it is vitally important that homeowners get specialist advice if they do decide to use some of the value tied up in their home to help their families. Balancing generosity with their own financial security is vital and a good adviser will help them explore all their options.”