How will I ever get on the ladder?

Q. I am in my dream job, but it pays very little and I don’t think I will ever be able to afford to get onto the property ladder. Can you give me any tips?

A: I expect there will be a large number of readers who can identify with the issue of finance when it comes to buying a property, especially given how unaffordable London property is at current price levels. However, all is not lost. The government is really promoting home ownership within the UK and there are a number of schemes which are designed to help. One of the main difficulties is finding out about these schemes and which ones might be right for you. There’s a helpful website,, which outlines the different schemes available and the eligibility criteria.

Shared ownership could be a good option, as it allows you to buy a percentage of the property (between 25% – 75% of the property’s value) and pay rent on the remaining percentage. You can then increase your ownership share later when you can afford it. This is becoming an increasingly common way of buying a property and there are some dedicated websites for shared ownership properties such as There are also a number of events where developers, mortgage brokers, and solicitors exhibit, so you can find out more and make an informed choice.

However, there are restrictions, so make sure you do your research. For example, if you live in London you’re only eligible if your household income doesn’t exceed £71,000 a year if you’re buying a one or two bedroom home; or £85,000 a year if you’re buying a three or more bedroom home.

Another option might be the Help to Buy scheme, which can be suitable for those who can afford the mortgage repayments, but are struggling to afford a deposit. This scheme allows buyers to put down as little as a 5% deposit in some cases. Again, there are restrictions and some examples include: the property can’t be worth more than £600,000, you must not own any other property anywhere in the world, the mortgage has to be repayment (i.e. not interest only), and you cannot let out the property.

So if you are feeling bleak about your opportunity to get on the ladder, hopefully one of these schemes may help you after all.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.