First-time buyers: who you gonna call?

Many would-be home-owners find themselves in a catch 22 situation: mortgage affordability is currently at a 10-year high, but how to scrape together the necessary cash to take advantage of the situation?

The Government, aware of the problem, is trying to help out. Whether this is just tokenism on its part is another question. At the moment, first timers can turn to the FirstBuy scheme, allowing those who earn less than 60,000 pounds to top up 5 percent deposits with an extra 20 percent of the value of a property. There are also sharedownership schemes. Check out your local HomeBuy agent to find out more. If you're a key worker, such as those who work in the police force or the prison service, you maybe eligible for a Key Worker mortgage. Another possibility is to ask your parents to act as guarantors for your mortgage, though if you default then your parents may end up losing their own home!

Perhaps rental-land isn't so bad afterall. 'Renting allows graduates and young professionals without family ties to up sticks and move quickly to suit their employment situations – without the cost and rigmarole of selling a property,' said Jonathan Moore, director of easyroommate.co.uk.

'Many are drawn to renting by the lack of effort and money required. One of the key benefits of living in rented accommodation is that it is the landlord's responsibility to resolve and fund any maintenance issues, leaving renters without unexpected stresses and costs.'

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