There has been a sharp decline in the numbers of people buying their home in recent years. Figures show that home ownership has fallen from 71 per cent in 2003 to 65.2 per cent last year, the lowest level since 1987.

New rules that came into effect in April 2014 have made it harder to get a mortgage application approved. House prices have increased and banks require bigger deposits than previously. These changes have become necessary since the financial crisis of 2007.

Lending money is big business, banks and other financial institutions are in competition for more customers. As a result of irresponsible lending and often negligent financial advice, many borrowers took on mortgages which only seemed affordable. Unfortunately many of these borrowers were left struggling to repay their mortgage, or have even had their homes repossessed.

New rules, created by the Financial Conduct Authority, have been designed to protect consumers and prevent excessive or risky lending by mortgage providers.

Frustratingly this has left many unable to get a mortgage despite the fact that they pay rent on time every month.

If this has left you in this awkward situation there are steps you can take to improve your mortgage chances.

Lenders use your credit score to decide how much of a risk you are and if you should be approved for a mortgage. Make sure there are no mistakes on your credit record and rectify any errors before applying for a mortgage. Pay off as many outstanding debts as possible and ensure all bills are paid on time.

Start saving, the more of a deposit you have the better the mortgage deal you will be able to get. This can be a challenge when paying rent also, but the government has introduced a help to buy scheme, which can help you with the deposit. This scheme can allow you a mortgage with just a 5% deposit or to increase your 5% deposit with an equity loan of a further 20% of the purchase price.

Don’t apply for credit just before you apply for your mortgage.The more searches you have in a short time, the less likely you are to be granted credit as you could be viewed as desperately seeking borrowing to repay debt.

Keep a check of all your outgoings, lenders are keen to ensure you can afford the repayments, so it would be a good idea to curb your spending habits before applying for a mortgage. This will show you have sufficient surplus cash to hand, and may come in handy when you do get the keys to your new home!

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