Property news roundup: First-time buyers priced out of 80 per cent of homes

Plus, haggling over rent, parents paying deposits, and live in a 15th century house

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The Independent Online

More than 80 per cent of properties for sale in England are unaffordable for the average working family looking to buy their first home, suggests new research from Shelter.

In 83 local authority areas fewer than 10 homes for sale were 'affordable'. These included Cambridge where there were only three affordable homes on the market, Warwick where there were nine, and Brighton and Hove where there was just one.

In Exeter only one per cent of homes on the market were affordable for the typical family and in Herefordshire only three per cent. In 14 local authority areas, including Ealing, Lewisham and Slough, there were no affordable homes for sale at all.

"When a family looking to buy their first home searches a whole town for a place to live and finds nothing they can afford, it's clear we’re not just facing a housing shortage any more, it’s a full-blown drought," said Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter.

"Our failure to build more homes is leaving a whole generation of young people with no choice but to remain trapped in expensive and unstable private renting, or stuck in their childhood bedrooms for years to come, no matter how hard they work or save. What we need right now is for politicians to roll up their sleeves and make stable homes for the next generation a top priority."

Haggling over rent

One in ten UK tenants has successfully haggled their rent down, with almost a quarter saving £51-£100 per month according to the figures from More than four in ten saved £26-£50 per month.

A quarter simply offered a lower price and refused to budge, although around nine per cent said being flexible on their move in date helped their argument, and a similar figure offered to show evidence they were ideal tenants with employer and landlord references.

A separate poll conducted by SpareRoom revealed that more than tree quarters of landlords would consider lowering their rent for the right tenant.

"In spite of enormous demand for private rented accommodation, especially in the capital, there can be wiggle room to go in with a lower offer," said Matt Hutchinson, director of "It helps if you’re in no rush to move, but not everyone has that luxury."

Bank of Mum and Dad

Homeowners receive, on average, half of their deposit from their parents or their partner’s parents, says a new report.

The study from Santander Mortgages indicates that more than two thirds of parents who provided money to help their children get on the property ladder gave it as a gift. Only three per cent regarded the money as an investment.

More than one in five prospective first-time buyers estimates that their parents will contribute £20,000 or more.

Live in a 15th century house

The Grade II listed 15th century Willow House, in Fen Lane, Thelnetham, Suffolk (pictured top) is described in the particulars as an 'unspoilt medieval yeoman's hall. The unspoilt timber framed house comes with nearly two acres of gardens/orchard, two receptions rooms, two bathrooms and four bedrooms. But it also has many original features including medieval double service arches, a central 'beehive' fireplace in the dining room, and a brick oven built around 1600, as well as 18th century brick floors.

The house has various creative connections as the former home of painter Paddy Middleton in the 1940s, of publisher John Middleton Murry, and of science fiction writer Edmund Cooper.

It's on the market with TW Gaze at a guide price of £470,000.