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How much deposit do I need to buy a house?

Saving for your first home is easier when you have a number to aim for. But the exact amount you need to save depends on several factors.

What is a mortgage deposit?

A deposit is the money you put towards buying a property that comes from your own pocket, rather than the money that comes from a mortgage. It tends to be measured as a percentage of what the property costs.

For example, if you’re hoping to buy a property that costs £150,000 and you have £15,000 saved up that you can put towards it, you would be putting down a 10% deposit. You’d need to borrow £135,000 from a mortgage lender.

Usually, the higher the percentage that you buy yourself, the better your mortgage rates, meaning it will cost you less to pay your mortgage each month.

Mortgage lenders like you to put some of your own money towards buying a house. That’s because it gives you a good reason to look after the property and to keep paying the monthly mortgage repayments – if you don’t, you could lose your own money.

How much is a mortgage deposit?

In the UK, you will usually need to pay at least 5% of the cost of the property yourself as a deposit. But this depends on the mortgage lender and your own situation, for example first-time buyers are more likely to be approved for mortgages with low deposits.

Some mortgage lenders will ask for a bigger deposit than this and a general rule-of-thumb is to save a deposit that is 20% of the price of the property you want to buy.

So, in our £150,000 house example above, a 20% deposit would be £30,000. If you’re a first-time buyer, you might find that there are mortgages you can take out that ask for a lower deposit – a 5% deposit would be £7,500.

The exact amount depends on how much the property costs. You could opt for a property that costs less so that your deposit makes up a higher percentage of the total cost.

What are the costs of buying a house?

While your mortgage deposit is likely to be the biggest thing you need to save up for, there are a few others things you'll need to pay for.

Solicitor fees. These vary depending on your solicitor but it's a good idea to factor in at least £2,500 for this cost.

Stamp duty. Use a stamp duty calculator to find out exactly how much you may need to pay - you may not need to pay anything, but this depends on if you're a first-time buyer or not, if you're planning on living in the house and how much the property will cost.

Moving costs. If you plan to hire a van or movers, you'll need to factor this cost in.

New furniture. This can be bought over time but you might like to include this in your budget if you know you'll need to buy some furniture as soon as you move in.

Mortgage advisor fees. Some mortgage advisors are paid by the lender you take your mortgage out with, but some will charge you for their services. It's worth finding this out before you ask them to help you.

The table below is to help you work out how much you'll need to save.

The exact amount will vary, for example your solicitors may charge more or less, you might not need a moving van and you might have more expensive taste in furniture. It also assumes that you're not paying for your mortgage adviser.

 

Estimated house price: 5% deposit Solicitor fees Stamp duty Moving costs Furniture TOTAL TO SAVE
£150,000 £7,500 £2,000 £0 £300 £1,000 £10,800
£200,000 £10,000 £2,000 £0 £300 £1,000 £13,300
£300,000 £15,000 £2,000 £2,500 (£0 if first-time buyer) £300 £1,000 £20,800 (£18,300 if first-time buyer)

How to save for a house deposit

  1. Work out how much you need to save

    Use property search apps to work out roughly how much your new home will cost and how much deposit you’ll need to save. If you’re a first-time buyer, aim for at least 5% of the cost of the property. Property prices change over time, but you can only work with the information you have now, and you can always revise your targets later.

    Remember to add in the extra costs, such as stamp duty, solicitor fees and the cost of moving house.

  2. Find the shortcuts

    Take a look at our life hacks for saving a house deposit, for example saving in a lifetime ISA could mean it takes you 25% less time to reach your target because the government tops-up your savings.

  3. Do the maths

    Then it’s worth looking at your budget.

    How much money do you have coming in and how much do you pay out each month? After you’ve paid for your essentials, such as your rent and bills, how much money can you reasonably save each month?

    Divide your target amount by your monthly savings goal to see how many months you need to save for.

  4. Increase how much you can save

    If this feels like too long, then it’s time to find a way to increase how much you have available to save each month. There’s two ways to do this: either increase how much is coming in or reduce how much is going out.

    Find a side hustle or find something you don’t need to spend money on. Even better, do both. Whatever the difference is can go straight into your savings.

  5. Get started

    The sooner you start saving, the sooner you could be taking that key-dangling selfie. If you start this month then you’re already a month closer.

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Most importantly: get started

Got £25 in your current account? If you put it in a lifetime ISA now you'll be taking your first big step towards owning your own home. OneFamily's Lifetime ISA is a stocks and shares product, which means your money is invested in the stock market. While there is good potential for it to therefore grow in the long-term, there is a risk you could lose money.

Not yet sure if now’s the time? Sign up to receive our lifetime ISA guide by email using the form on this page to find out more about this savings shortcut.

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