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How Much Deposit Do You Need For A House?

Embarking on the journey to homeownership is an exciting milestone, especially for first-time buyers. One of the most crucial aspects of this process is understanding how much deposit you need to secure a mortgage and purchase your first home. This guide will delve into the various factors that determine the required deposit size in the UK, offering valuable insights and tips for first-time buyers.

Understanding the Deposit

A deposit is an upfront payment made when purchasing a house, representing a percentage of the property’s purchase price. It plays a significant role in determining the mortgage you can secure and the overall cost of borrowing. In the UK, the minimum deposit required typically ranges from 5% to 20% of the property’s value, but several factors can influence this amount.

Minimum Deposit Requirements

1. Standard Minimum: 5%

The minimum deposit required to buy a house in the UK is usually 5% of the property’s purchase price. For instance, if you’re looking to buy a house worth £200,000, you would need a minimum deposit of £10,000. However, securing a mortgage with a 5% deposit means you’ll be borrowing 95% of the property’s value, known as a high Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio. While this makes homeownership more accessible, it often comes with higher interest rates and stricter lending criteria.

2. Recommended Minimum: 10%

A 10% deposit is more common and often recommended for first-time buyers. This lower LTV ratio (90%) can help you secure better mortgage rates and terms. Using the same example, for a £200,000 property, a 10% deposit would be £20,000. Lenders perceive a lower LTV as less risky, which can result in lower interest rates and monthly repayments.

Factors Affecting Deposit Size

1. Property Price

The value of the property you wish to purchase directly impacts the size of the deposit. Higher-priced properties require larger deposits. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the property market in your desired area to estimate the required deposit accurately.

2. Credit Score

Your credit score influences the mortgage deals available to you. A higher credit score can increase your chances of securing a mortgage with a smaller deposit and more favorable terms. Conversely, a lower credit score may necessitate a larger deposit to offset the perceived risk to lenders.

3. Income and Financial Stability

Lenders assess your income and financial stability when determining your mortgage eligibility. A stable income and good financial health can improve your chances of securing a mortgage with a smaller deposit. Self-employed individuals or those with irregular income may be required to provide a larger deposit.

4. Government Schemes and Assistance

Several government schemes can assist first-time buyers in the UK, reducing the required deposit size. These include:

  • Help to Buy Equity Loan: This scheme allows first-time buyers to purchase a new-build property with a 5% deposit. The government lends up to 20% (40% in London) of the property value, reducing the mortgage amount.
  • Lifetime ISA (LISA): A LISA helps you save for a deposit with a 25% government bonus on contributions up to £4,000 per year.
  • Shared Ownership: This scheme allows you to buy a share of a property (between 25% and 75%) and pay rent on the remaining share, requiring a smaller deposit.

Benefits of a Larger Deposit

While a minimum deposit of 5% can make homeownership accessible, there are significant benefits to saving for a larger deposit:

1. Lower Monthly Repayments

A larger deposit reduces the mortgage amount you need to borrow, resulting in lower monthly repayments. This can make homeownership more affordable in the long term.

2. Better Mortgage Rates

Lenders often offer more competitive interest rates to borrowers with larger deposits. Lower interest rates mean you’ll pay less over the life of the mortgage, saving you a significant amount of money.

3. Increased Chances of Approval

A larger deposit reduces the lender’s risk, increasing your chances of mortgage approval. It demonstrates financial discipline and stability, making you a more attractive borrower.

4. Greater Equity in Your Home

With a larger deposit, you’ll own a more significant portion of your home from the outset. This can provide greater financial security and flexibility in the future, especially if property values fluctuate.

Tips for Saving for a Deposit

1. Create a Savings Plan

Establish a clear savings plan with a timeline and target amount. Break down your savings goal into manageable monthly contributions and track your progress.

2. Cut Unnecessary Expenses

Review your monthly expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. Redirect these savings towards your deposit fund. Consider reducing discretionary spending, such as dining out, entertainment, or subscriptions.

3. Open a Dedicated Savings Account

Open a dedicated savings account, such as a Lifetime ISA, to benefit from government bonuses and keep your deposit savings separate from everyday spending. High-interest savings accounts can also help your savings grow faster.

4. Automate Your Savings

Set up automatic transfers to your savings account on payday to ensure you consistently contribute towards your deposit goal. Treat it as a non-negotiable expense.

5. Consider Additional Income Sources

Explore opportunities for additional income, such as freelance work, part-time jobs, or selling unused items. Direct any extra income towards your deposit savings.

6. Seek Financial Advice

Consult with a financial advisor to create a personalized savings plan and explore investment options that align with your risk tolerance and timeline.

Understanding how much deposit you need for a house is a crucial step for first-time buyers in the UK. While a minimum deposit of 5% can make homeownership accessible, aiming for a larger deposit of 10% or more offers significant benefits, including lower monthly repayments, better mortgage rates, and increased chances of approval. By considering factors such as property price, credit score, and available government schemes, and by implementing effective savings strategies, you can confidently navigate the path to securing your first home. Remember, the journey to homeownership is a marathon, not a sprint, so start saving early and stay committed to your goal.

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