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Get your foot on the property ladder

It's a massive step, and for many getting on the first rung of the property ladder looks more like a hurdle as the unwillingness of banks and building societies to lend more than 90 percent of a property's total value is acting as a massive constraint in the battle to get your own place.

President of the National Association of Estate Agents, Wendy Evans-Scott, said: 'Demand for property remains consistent but the barriers to buying are proving impossible to overcome for the vast majority of consumers. Our members have likened the housing market to an obstacle course, with many falling at the first hurdle as the finance required just isn't available.'

Which is why the government is launching its FirstBuy Scheme, which is specifically designed to help those struggling to find deposit money needed to finance their first home. The scheme involves 100 housebuilders offering their new homes with 20% equity loans provided by the government. So then you'll be able to pay a deposit of 5 percent, and take out a 75% mortgage, which will mean you can get on that ladder sooner and pay better rates than if you had only a 10 percent deposit.

You could also go in for a government sponsored 'shared owner-ship' agreement scheme, whereby you buy a share of a property and pay rent on the remainder.

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