How Much Deposit Do I Need to Buy a House?

If you're aspiring to own a home in London, saving for a deposit is a crucial first step. This article will clarify the importance of a deposit, how much you need, and effective ways to save. We will also discuss the possibility of obtaining a mortgage without a deposit.

Understanding a House Deposit

A house deposit is the portion of the property price you pay upfront, it’s the initial equity you have in your home. Typically, mortgage lenders require at least a 5% deposit. For a £500,000 property in London, this would mean a £25,000 deposit.

Tips for Saving a Deposit

Saving for a deposit in London can be daunting, especially with high living costs. However, it's achievable with careful planning, here are some strategies:

  1. Set a Savings Goal: Determine how much you need and set a realistic timeline.
  2. Budgeting: Track your expenses and cut down on non-essentials.
  3. Savings Accounts: Look for accounts with good interest rates.
  4. Lifetime ISA (LISA): This offers a 25% government bonus on savings up to £4,000 per year.


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What Is Loan-to-Value (LTV)?

Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio measures the loan amount against the property value, a lower LTV ratio means better mortgage rates and terms. For instance, if you save a 20% deposit, your LTV will be 80%, making you a less risky borrower for lenders.

Is It Possible to Get a Mortgage with No Deposit?

While rare, 100% mortgages are available from some lenders. These typically require a guarantor with substantial equity in their own property, this guarantor agrees to cover any shortfall if you default on the mortgage.

Advantages of a Larger Deposit

Better Mortgage Rates:

A larger deposit means borrowing less, which often results in better mortgage rates and lower monthly repayments.

Higher Acceptance Rates:

Lenders are more likely to approve your mortgage if you have a larger deposit, as it indicates financial stability.

Lower Risk of Negative Equity:

With a substantial deposit, you’re less likely to owe more than the property's worth if market values drop.#

Ways to Increase Your Deposit

Help-to-Buy Scheme:

The Help-to-Buy scheme allows first-time buyers to purchase new-build properties with a 5% deposit. The government lends up to 20% (40% in London) of the property value, interest-free for the first five years.

Shared Ownership:

Shared Ownership lets you buy a share of a property (25%-75%) and pay rent on the remaining share. Over time, you can purchase additional shares, key points include:

  • Income limits: £90,000 in London.
  • Available for first-time buyers or those who previously owned a home but can’t afford to buy now.
  • Applies to new builds and resale properties.

Buying with Friends or Family:

Pooling resources with friends or family to buy a property can make it more affordable. Ensure you have legal agreements in place to outline each person’s share and responsibilities.

Family Assistance:

Many buyers receive help from family, commonly known as the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’. This assistance can come in various forms:

  • Financial gifts
  • Loans
  • Acting as a guarantor


When Is the Deposit Paid?

The deposit is usually paid at the exchange of contracts, signifying your commitment to the purchase.

Who Receives the Deposit?

The deposit is transferred to your conveyancing solicitor, who then passes it to the seller’s solicitor upon exchange of contracts.

Can I Use a Loan for My Deposit?

While possible, using a loan for your deposit can complicate your mortgage application, as lenders will consider your ability to repay both the loan and the mortgage.

Does Bad Credit Affect My Deposit?

Yes, bad credit can impact your mortgage application. Lenders will scrutinise your financial history, including your debt-to-income ratio and the nature of your credit issues. However, a stable income and recent financial stability can improve your chances.

For more guidance on buying your first home in London, Contact Felicity J. Lord, your trusted local estate agent.