There has been a 74% rise in the number of private renters in England over the last decade, according to the latest English Housing Survey, but that hasn't made many of us give up on the dream of one day owning a home.
But if you want to do a little research into buying your own place, there is a brilliant and really easy-to-use online tool to help aspiring homeowners to work out where in the country (if anywhere!) they could afford to buy a property, and how much they'd need to save.
The tool asks you to input your annual salary – or combined salaries if you're buying with someone else – and whether or not you're a first-time buyer, before telling you the size of the mortgage you're likely to be eligible for.
So for instance, if Sally is a first-time buyer earning £30,000 a year, the tool calculates that the maximum mortgage she is likely to get is £135,000 (or approx 4.5 times her annual salary). By taking into account Sally's savings, HomeFinder then lets her work out the price of properties she could afford.
Based on a 10% deposit, Sally would need to save at least £18,000 to be able to afford a £220,000 home. The tool also lets you put in the postcode of where you'd ideally like to buy a home and how much money you have saved, allowing you to set yourself a savings target. It also tells you how much your mortgage payments are likely to come to. In Sally's case, if she got a 3% fixed-rate mortgage, the payments would be £640 a month.
Then comes the fun part. If Sally wanted to buy a one-bedroom flat in east London's Hackney (postcode E8), the tool would bring her crashing back to Earth. It reveals where she would be able to afford a home. Spoiler: The vast majority of London is off the table (see the areas in red) but by zooming out she can find out about the UK's more affordable areas, then browse property websites accordingly.
On the map pictured, the red areas are out of Sally's price range, orange is where she could buy – at a stretch – and green is within her budget.
Judging from the UK map, it looks like Sally will be moving to the Midlands or the north of England.
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