How to save for a deposit

Updated on 10 April 2013

A home could cost £267,000 by 2018, according to the Cebr. So now is the time to start thinking about how you can build up a deposit.

Impact on deposits

If the Cebr predictions are correct, the size of the deposit needed for a home will be between £2,250 and £18,000 more expensive than it is now.

Deposit size

Deposit on a £222,000 property

Deposit on a £267,000 property

5%

£11,100

£13,350

10%

£22,200

£26,700

15%

£33,300

£40,050

20%

£44,400

£53,400

25%

£55,500

£66,750

35%

£77,700

£93,450

40%

£88,800

£106,800

As you can see from the table a reasonable deposit size of 15% requires £33,300 now – which isn’t exactly small change - but it could cost £40,050 in around five years’ time.

The good news is prices haven’t shot up that high yet, so that gives you a good few years to get together a deposit that can meet this sort of cost.

Here are three simple steps to get on your way.

1) Cut back

If you really have aspirations to be a homeowner in the future you will need to work out where you can cut back and make savings now.

A good first step is to set up a spending diary to establish what you spend and where. This task is simpler using MoneyTrack. The free tool from Lovemoney helps you to track and categorise spending across all of your accounts.

Once you have the information to hand, you can go about trying to make cuts. This might mean not eating meals out as much, walking to work, buying fewer expensive brands, or even moving back into your parents' house to save on rent.

From here you can work out how much you can afford to save each time you are paid.

2) Boost your income

If you want to give your monthly income a boost there are plenty of other ways to make money outside of work.

For a start you can earn extra every time you spend on cashback websites or with a cashback credit card.

Also you could do a clear out and sell your old stuff at a car boot sale or online using sites like eBay, eBid, Amazon, Preloved and Gumtree. Read: How to sell successfully on eBay and How to be successful at a car boot sale for more.

Another way to raise money is by switching onto cheaper deals. You could be paying more than you need to on things like your car insurance, broadband or energy and switching could save you hundreds of pounds.

I managed to make an extra £1,350 last year by reclaiming tax, making a PPI claim, selling unwanted stuff and using cashback schemes so it really is possible to give your deposit savings a boost.

3) Grow your money

Once you’ve figured out how to squeeze out some savings from your wages or even a few ways to earn a bit more you should decide where to put your cash to make it grow.

Here are some ideas:

Cash ISAs - The first port of call should be a Cash ISA, where you can enjoy tax-free savings. During 2013-2014 you can save up to £5,760 tax free. If you don’t have the lump sum in place, that works out at £480 each month. You can choose from an easy access, notice or fixed-rate ISA.

The best rate going at the moment is 3.10% from Halifax but you have to lock up your money for five years. Alternatively you can go for the Coventry Poppy ISA which is easy access and pays 2.60%.

Fixed rate bonds - After you’ve used up your allowance you might want to consider using fixed-rate bonds to grow your money. Unfortunately the rates at the moment aren’t that appealing for the amount of time you need to lock away your cash. One of the best rates is the FirstSave Five-Year Fixed Rate paying 3.05%.

Regular savings - If you want to get into the habit of putting money aside each month a regular savings account could be helpful. The best rates of 6% are on offer from First Direct and HSBC but you need to be a current account customer to apply. Elsewhere Norwich and Peterborough has a regular saver paying 4%.

There are also dedicated regular saver accounts for building up a deposit.

The Nationwide Save to Buy Account is available as an ISA or regular saver and pays 2% on balances up to £20,000. The rate isn't amazing, but after six months you can apply for a Nationwide Save to Buy mortgage which only requires a 5% deposit. If accepted you can get cashback depending on how much you have saved. Read more in: Save to buy: the savings accounts that help you build a deposit.

Easy access savings – If you want more immediate access to your funds an easy access account is a good bet. However, rates are pretty low at the moment with nothing paying above 2% and many of the best coming with temporary bonuses that fall away after a year.  

You can actually get a better return from a current account. The Santander 123 current account will pay 3% on balances between £3,000 and £20,000 while the Nationwide FlexDirect account will pay 5% on balances up to £2,500.

Credit unions - Savers can often end up with better returns by using credit unions but you can only join one if you share a common interest. This can be where you live or even where you work. Find your local one at Findyourcreditunion.co.uk.

Peer to peer - Aside from traditional savings accounts you could try peer-to-peer savings. This involves lending you money to a business or another individual through a platform like Zopa, Funding Circle or RateSetter. Rates here are often far better than what you find in normal savings accounts. Read What is peer-to-peer (P2P) lending? for more.

Don’t delay

Generally homebuyers with larger deposits get a better mortgage deal, so it will pay to start saving as soon as you can.

> Answer a Lovemoney survey and you'll be entered into the draw for a brand new iPad!

More on property:

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Why the experts are wrong about house prices

Why the experts are right about house prices

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