According to research conducted by Abbey, some 11.2 million consumers saving for their first home have ‘dipped into’ their account at least once. One out of five (19.5 per cent) respondents were reported to take out money from their funds once every couple of months. Meanwhile, 11.2 per cent were reported to go into their account nearly every month. However, some 888,000 Britons could be developing the most difficulties in meeting property deposits and secured loan repayments as they are said to raid their accounts approximately every week.
Ricky Okey, managing director of Abbey for Intermediaries, said: "As surprising as the research is, it does go a long way to explaining why so many people are finding it hard to get onto the property ladder and why of the first-time buyers we spoke to we found that there is a strong demand for our 100 per cent mortgage, as many have not been able to save a deposit large enough."
The financial services firm also pointed to research by the Council of Mortgage Lenders which indicated that "many" potential first-time buyers believe that taking out a 100 per cent secured loan is the only way in which they would be able to afford a mortgage for the property of their choosing.
But with the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee (MPC) set to meet later this week to decide whether to move the base rate consumers could well find property costs rising if a vote for an increase is motioned. Chris Towner, senior economist for HiFX claimed that last week the likelihood of the MPC deciding to raise the base rate of interest was "a near certainty" as many experts within the economic markets are have factored in at least one more increase before the end of 2007.
However, Mr Towner claimed that following recent terror threats and "dampened" consumer confidence, in addition to the introduction of Gordon Brown as prime minister, the committee could decide to hold the base rate. The "recent strength of sterling" in easing inflation was also reported to be another factor in diminishing "the need for aggressive rate increases". "While the markets have already priced in at least two rises before the end of the year, it is up to the MPC to guide the markets and not for the markets to guide the MPC," he added.
The economist also pointed out that the Bank governor Mervyn King’s decision to vote for a rise last month despite the majority of the MPC already calling for the base rate to stay consistent revealed his belief that consumers still need to curb their uptake of personal loans, credit cards and other forms of spending. As a result, an increase to the base rate, which is widely predicted to take place on Thursday, could cause many borrowers to struggle to meet rising secured loan costs.