Before you start house hunting, a crucial thing you need to know is the minimum deposit for a house that you want to buy. Without a deposit, it would be impossible to get a mortgage, so answering the question “how much deposit do I need?” should be one of your first steps.
How much deposit do I need to buy a house?
The minimum deposit you need for a house depends on three factors. The price of the house you’re looking to buy, what mortgage LTVs are available and you are eligible for, and whether you are using any government support schemes like Help To Buy.
Typically, First Time Buyers go for properties between £150,000 and £300,000. This is because First Time Buyers get special stamp duty exemption for properties below £300,000. Assuming that you are using no government support and you can access a mortgage at a 90% Loan-To-Value (LTV), then you only need to put up a 10% deposit. The minimum deposit for a house in this scenario is between £15,000 to £30,000.
However, if you use a Lifetime ISA with a 25% government bonus, then you only need £12,000 to £24,000 as your deposit, because the government will top-up your amount in the Lifetime ISA.
If you go for the new 2021 Help To Buy Loan Equity scheme, your minimum deposit for a house then becomes 5%, which in this scenario is £7,500 for a £150,000 house, up to £15,000 for a £300,000 house.
So the answer to the question – how much deposit do I need to buy a house – can really vary depending on the three factors – house price, what LTV mortgage you can get, and what government support schemes you use.
The amount of house deposit you have will determine the properties you can consider buying. Saving up more money for a house deposit is hard work, so before you start house hunting you need to see if you can afford the type of property you want. At First Time Buyer Help, we often get asked this question: “Can I buy a house with X deposit?”. And as you can imagine, the answer is usually “it depends”, as house prices vary so much across the country. What can cost millions in central London could potentially be bought for £100,000 in a remote part of the UK.
So below are some calculations and property listings that illustrate what you can buy, with your deposit amount.
Scenarios at different minimum deposits for a house:
- Can I buy a house with a £10,000 deposit?
- Can I buy a house with a £20,000 deposit?
- Can I buy a house with a £30,000 deposit?
- How much deposit do I need for a £200,000 house?
- How much deposit do I need for a £500,000 house?
Can I buy a house with a £10,000 deposit?
Using the three factors we described earlier in the article, let’s assume you can get a 90% LTV and using the Lifetime ISA bonus, to see how much house you can afford with a £10,000 deposit.
Your £10,000 becomes £12,500 with the Lifetime ISA bonus, and the property value you can afford with a 90% LTV mortgage is £125,000.
Using one of the three property portals – Rightmove, Zoopla, or On The Market – you can then run a search for the area you are interested in buying your first home, and put a price range as a filter. In the screenshots (see below), we have used Rightmove and ran a search for Oldham, for properties between £100,000 and £150,000 as our calculations above show we can afford £125,000.
You can see that there has been 110 results returned! That is a good sign, as it means your deposit is enough to afford many properties in Oldham, if that was your area you were looking at.
However, if you run the same search for London, you will likely find almost zero results for £100,000 to £150,000.
Can I buy a house with a £20,000 deposit?
To calculate how much house you can buy with a £20,000 deposit, I will use the same assumptions of 90% LTV and getting a Lifetime ISA bonus.
Your £20,000 deposit becomes £25,000 with the Lifetime ISA bonus of 25%. Therefore, the property value you can afford is £250,000 at a 90% LTV mortgage.
I am curious if it is possible to at all to get a £250,000 first home in central London, with a £20,000 deposit, so I am going to run this search on Zoopla.
And wow! There are 38 properties available in central London for sale below £300,000! The first result is also super central – close to Victoria and Pimlico station!
If you can buy a property in central London with a £20,000 deposit, then if you live anywhere else in the UK, then the answer to “Can I buy a house with a £20,000 deposit?” is definitely a resounding yes.
Can I buy a house with a £30,000 deposit?
Using the same assumptions of a 90% LTV mortgage as well as using the Lifetime ISA bonus, we can calculate how much house you can afford to buy with a £30,000 deposit.
Your £30,000 deposit becomes £37,500 with the Lifetime ISA bonus. Combined with a 90% LTV mortgage, you can then afford to buy a £375,000 house.
The average UK house price, with the latest data from the ONS, was £250,000 in November 2020. If you are wondering if a deposit of £30,000 is enough to buy a house in the UK – I would say you should have ample choice anywhere in the country, bar the most exclusive postcodes.
For example, if I run an OnTheMarket search for an expensive area like Central Manchester, with a price range of £325,000 to £425,000, there are still 14 houses available, and that is excluding all flats and apartments; only proper houses with three bedrooms or more!
With a £30,000 you should definitely have a good amount of property choice in most areas of the country, as long as you maximise your Lifetime ISA bonus and have a good enough credit score to qualify for a 90% LTV mortgage. Your deposit could go even further if you maximise first time buyer government support schemes like Help To Buy Equity Loans or Shared Ownership properties.
How much deposit do I need for a £200,000 house?
A £200,000 house is slightly cheaper than the average house price of £250,000 (as of Nov 2020) across the UK.
How much deposit you need for a £200,000 house will vary from £8,000 to £30,000.
If you are able to qualify for a 95% LTV mortgage and have saved up your deposit in a Lifetime ISA, then you only need to put up a £10,000 deposit in total, and in reality only £8,000 if taking into account the 25% bonus from the Lifetime ISA.
However, if you can only qualify for a 85% LTV mortgage, and your deposit is not in a Lifetime ISA, then you will need to find a house deposit of £30,000 to afford a £200,000 house.
This illustrates how good forward financial planning is crucial to maximising your deposit to afford your dream first home. By getting your credit score in good health as well as saving early into a Lifetime ISA, you can afford the same property with less than half the deposit compared to someone who is less organised.
How much deposit do I need for a £500,000 house?
A £500,000 house is double the average house price in the United Kingdom, which stood at £250,000 in November 2020.
At a typical 85% LTV mortgage, and assuming you are not getting any government support (including Lifetime ISA bonus), the typical house deposit you need for a £500,000 house is £75,000.
However, if you have a good credit score and can qualify for a 95% LTV mortgage, and have saved up diligently for years in a Lifetime ISA and can get the 25% bonus, the house deposit you need for a £500,000 house can be as low as £20,000!
However, do not forget that your income plays a crucial role in determining how much you can spend on your first house, if buying with a mortgage. In the example above, if you did get a 95% LTV mortgage, that would be a mortgage debt of £475,000. Most banks will only allow you to borrow up to 4x your income, so you would need to be earning £118,750 a year (gross before taxes) to qualify for that mortgage! And that is before the bank does their affordability tests, which evaluate the cost of the mortgage compared to your net income after taking into account your other living expenses.
How much deposit you need for a £500,000 house is just one part of the equation – in addition to your income as well as your monthly outgoings.