‘The bank called and said they’d loan me a deposit’: Londoners share how they bought in the 90s and 00s

The television presenter Kirstie Allsopp recently sparked a furious backlash after an interview in which she appeared to claim that today’s first-time buyers could afford to buy a place of their own in their twenties by giving up luxuries like Netflix and gym subscriptions.Allsopp bought her first home in Battersea in the early Nineties when it’s true that Netflix didn’t even exist.But was it really easier for first-time buyers then compared to the struggles first-time buyers face now? We speak to three people who purchased their first home in the Nineties or Noughties. Wilson said that it was affordable. Wilson said that there was no need to save a lot of money. Our income was mostly disposable as we didn’t have any children at the time. Once we got the house, we had to make some cuts. Our disposable income was drastically reduced by mortgage payments, ground rent, and building maintenance. The couple chose an endowment mortgage, which meant that they only had to pay interest on their loan. The couple chose an endowment mortgage, which meant they only paid interest on their loan. However, this kept monthly costs down. They believed that property prices would continue to rise, so there would be enough money for the debt repayments when the time came. Dexters is selling a flat in the block for GBP400,000/Dexters. Fortunately for Wilson, he didn’t fall into this trap. The couple decided to move up in 1995 and were able sell the flat for GBP63,000. However, they lost money due to the selling and buying costs. Wilson, 61, and his wife raised their three children in the house. They divorced in 2012, and Wilson now rents a flat at Folkestone, where he runs his own hypnotherapy business and mindset coaching company, A Happy Head. He says, “Our timing was bad, but we didn’t know that at the time.” He says, “Our timing was poor, but we didn’t know that at the moment.” 2000Average house prices: GBP130,000. Polly Arrowsmith (far left), in her first house in Tottenham, bought for GBP170,000 in 2000. She bought a house in Islington in 2007 for GBP945,00/Polly Arrowsmith. Arrowsmith, now 54, says that she was offered a very affordable deal to rent the top floor in Tottenham. It was strange because we shared a bathroom with the owners of the house. There was only one bedroom, so one of us slept inside our sitting room. We were only paying GBP25 per week. “We were only paying GBP25 per week.” Arrowsmith says that they had missed the late Nineties property boom. Although prices had doubled in the previous year, it still sounds ridiculously affordable now. Arrowsmith still has paperwork that shows that their Abbey National Building Society (bought by Santander 2004) monthly repayment mortgage cost them a grand total GBP224 per month. Arrowsmith says that they could have extended themselves more. “But we decided to buy in Tottenham because we expected excellent capital growth, even though it took longer than we expected. There were also lifestyle compromises that had to be made. Tottenham was less glamorous back then than it is now. They lived in the house until 2007. Both sisters remember being mistakenly identified as prostitutes walking home. There wasn’t much in the way of cafes or restaurants. Arrowsmith’s sister moved to Leeds, and Arrowsmith needed a home of her own. Arrowsmith remortgaged the house to release some funds for a deposit. She also had an interest-only mortgage of six to seven times her salary. Arrowsmith purchased a three-bedroom, GBP945,000 Barnsbury townhouse. Northern Rock, a lender known for offering buyers huge loans, gave her this large sum. It was nationalized in 2008. Although the house’s value fluctuated over the years, Arrowsmith, who is now a director marketing, said that it never fell below the GBP945,000 she purchased it for. It is now worth approximately GBP1.6 million. She said, “I am an accountant by trade, and I have always studied market,” “We seem to have a boom every 10 or so years and so I wasn’t worried about the house losing its money, not in long-term. “2010Average house prices: GBP279 700Aimee Higgins (right), around the time she purchased her first flat / Aimee HigginsAimee Higgins never intended to be a homeowner. It was a fate that Higgins found herself in. She was living in Clapham with her friends at the time and was more interested in building her career as an accountant than in investing in bricks-and-mortar. The phone rang. Higgins, now 39, says that the bank called me out of the blue. “I said, “That’s great, I don’t have any savings.” They told me to relax, they would give me a loan for a deposit as well as any other items I might need. Higgins was earning GBP45,000 at that time and was able to purchase a one-bedroom apartment for just over GBP200,000 despite not having any savings. Higgins received a GBP20,000 bank loan to cover her deposit and moving expenses. NatWest provided a 95% interest-only mortgage at 95 per cent. Higgins could have been seriously hurt by buying a property in a global recession. Aimee Higgins purchased her first Bromley one-bed flat for just over GBP200,000. A flat in the block is available for rent at GBP1,100 per monthly / Rightmove. In 2009, Aimee Higgins bought her first one-bed flat in Bromley for just over GBP200,000. She paid off her original loan and left with approximately GBP70,000. She says, “I was incredibly fortunate.” It was a scary thing to do, she admits. Higgins moved into a new three-bedroom detached home in Ashford, close to her family. She got a much safer mortgage and set up Couch to Carbon Zero, a non profit that promotes sustainable lifestyle changes. She says, “I feel sorry for today’s generation.” “My poor niece saved for years for a deposit. I feel really bad because I didn’t do anything smart. I just picked up the telephone. “READ MORELondon property prices rise as the cost of living increases. London’s average home price is now GBP507,000. Nationwide: London’s average home price has risen to GBP164,000 since 2008. Source: ONS.2008: Lehman Brothers collapses, causing a global recession. Source: ONS.2011: A revival in property prices in Prime Central London is being supported by overseas buyers. The term “generation rent” is used to describe young buyers who are priced out of the property market permanently. 2014: Mortgage Market Review reduces the amount of borrowing that house buyers can borrow. Stamp duty rates rise, especially for more expensive homes and those that are sold to overseas buyers2016: The Stamp Duty Rates are raised again. This causes a slowdown in property sale across the UK. The average deposit for a first home in London is more than GBP100,000.2020: Britain officially withdraws from the EU. A pandemic ensues. Buyers respond by moving to the suburbs and further afield. London’s house price growth is slower than the rest of the UK2022: London’s average house price was GBP521,146. This is 11 times the average salary in London.