Cumbrian first-time buyers find it harder to get on the property ladder than they would in other parts of the country.
That’s according to research by The Cumberland which has prompted it to launch a new initiative to help.
Analysis by the building society showed that first time buyers accounted for 44% of all homes bought with a mortgage in the region during the first 10 months of 2018.
Last year’s figures also saw a drop in the number of first time buyers compared to the same period 12 months earlier.
Nationally a recent report suggested that first-time buyers were at their highest level for 20 years - accounting for 50 per cent of all homes bought with a mortgage - and double what they were in 2008.
It is believed that a number of Government-supported Help to Buy schemes have helped, but their impact appears to have been less pronounced in Cumbria.
The Cumberland believes people may be put off stepping onto the housing ladder because they perceive it to be difficult or unaffordable.
To help it is launching an initiative to reach out to more potential first-time buyers with a £1,000 cashback offer as an incentive – in addition to its range of mortgages that require only a 5% deposit and its family assistance mortgages.
That means that to purchase a property of £80,000, a first time buyer would need a deposit of £4,000, and they’d get £1,000 back when they complete.
The Cumberland’s Area Sales Manager, David Stewart, says some people have a ‘mind block’ which puts them off becoming homeowners.
“Many people think it’s difficult to buy their first home, and there’s a common perception that it’s costly. This is completely understandable.
"However, there is a lot of help available, from savings accounts that pay bonuses to mortgages that require just five per cent deposit.
"We have this week introduced our new range of £1000 cashback mortgages, which we know will help considerably with the costs of buying your first home.”
“It’s a lot easier to buy your first home than it has been but if you’ve never done it before you can’t be expected to know this! We do find that a lot of people come to us in rented accommodation and are surprised to find that it’s as expensive as a mortgage is.
“In Carlisle, for example, you can buy a two bedroom terraced property for £60-70,000 so you are not looking at a massive deposit for those properties,” he added.
The Cumberland this week launches its £1,000 cashback offer as part of its drive to help first time buyers across the region.
It has also launched a webchat and Facebook Messenger helpline allowing first time buyers to ask anything, with quick reply during its opening hours.
It is also encouraging more people to meet with their mortgage advisors as early as possible so that they know what different schemes and options are available to them.
To assist, it offers evening and weekend appointments, as well as a speedy 15 minute appointment – not normally available with other providers.
David said: “I would always encourage people thinking of buying to meet one of our advisors for a chat.
"We can give them a helping hand and let them know exactly what they can and can’t do and what to look out for when they’re taking their first step onto the housing ladder.”
Callum Hind, 26, recently bought his first home in Langholm with a mortgage from The Cumberland. He said: “A lot of media coverage is quite negative about getting on the property ladder, and it is daunting as it’s the biggest purchase you’ll make.
"But my advice would be that it was a lot simpler than what I thought, and I didn’t realise how easy it would be to get an advisor to take me through step by step.
"It helped having a branch near me, as well as being able to ask any really basic questions online."
Find out more about The Cumberland's First Time Buyer Mortgages.