House prices may be tumbling but the dream of home ownership is all but over for couples on modest incomes, as mortgage lenders demand heftier deposits, according to new figures.

Couples who have a combined take-home pay of £27,500 or less would have to save more than a year’s salaries to pay for a deposit, stamp duty and solicitors’ fees on the average first-time home – a total bill of £27,738 – figures from the RICS show. Couples both earning the average wage would have to set aside two thirds of their take-home pay of £44,000 to cover the bill.

Ten years ago couples on average earnings would have had to put aside only a fifth of their joint income to pay these costs.

The Times, The Independent