Almost half of British renters might never be able to afford to buy a home

Survey finds that even among those who plan to buy, confidence has fallen dramatically in the past six months

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The spiralling cost of buying a first home in the UK means that almost half of all renters are not sure they will ever be able to get on the property ladder, a survey has revealed.

Just 56 per cent of those renting in Britain said they had plans to buy their own home at some point in the future, with the biggest factor preventing people from doing so being the vast deposit required – nowhere more so than in London.

More than one in four of those surveyed said they definitely did not have plans to buy property in the future, while another 19 per cent admitted they were not sure whether they would.

Even among those who did plan to buy, optimism about their chances of ever doing so has fallen.

There were also big regional differences in how people viewed their chances of getting on the property ladder, the study of Royal Mail’s Redirection service customers found.

Across the whole of the UK, only 36 per cent of those surveyed said they were more optimistic about the property market than they were last year – a drop from 42 per cent in a similar study six months ago.

Those in the Midlands region were found to be most optimistic about their chances of buying, while just 28 per cent of those in the South East said they felt their position had improved since last year.

When asked about what was stopping them from buying their own home, 32 per cent said it was the issue of saving enough money for a deposit.

Almost one in five renters said they were unable to find a property they wanted, while 11 per cent said they weren’t earning enough to qualify for a mortgage.

The survey results come as the most expensive garage in the UK went on sale for more than half a million pounds.

The single-car garage off the King’s Road in Chelsea has an asking price of £550,000 – more than double that of the average British home – and has come to epitomise the London property bubble.

Last week, the National Housing Federation (NHF) published a report that said only Londoners earning more than £100,000 a year can afford a typical mortgage.

The NHF’s Dave Smith then said: “The effects of London's housing crisis are being felt by millions of hard working people every day and action must be taken now to tackle the capital's out of control housing costs.”

Andrea Martin, Royal Mail’s Managing Director of Data Services, said: “Royal Mail’s study of our Redirection service customers shows that optimism among renters that they will be able to buy their own home is declining. There are a range of factors that could have affected renters’ optimism to buy, ranging from tighter mortgage lending rules to higher property prices.”