How long will it take you to get on the property ladder?

The Nutmeg team

4 min read

First-time buyers taking full advantage of their Lifetime ISA allowance should expect to spend anywhere between two and nine years before they get a foot on the property ladder in England. And the average is 4.8 years.

We are a nation of homeowners – at least notionally we are. Today, over 90%of Brits under-34 want to buy. Yet getting a foot on the property ladder has never felt harder.

Luckily, a Lifetime ISA (or LISA) means anyone aged between 18 and 39 can contribute up to £4,000 per tax year, tax-free, and benefit from a government bonus of 25% (up to a maximum of £1,000). At Nutmeg, we offer a stocks and shares Lifetime ISA.

We’ve looked at the average house prices around England and, assuming people can put away the maximum £4,000 into a LISA, created this mapto show the time it will take the average first-time buyer with no savings to put down a 10% deposit.



If making a one-off contribution to a LISA is out of reach, then you could consider making monthly contributions. Those looking to reach the maximum LISA allowance of £4,000 are looking at around £333 every month. If you’re buying with a partner, sibling or friend you can split your contributions 50/50 and still keep your individual LISA benefits.

Already a Lifetime ISA customer? Set up a monthly direct debit today to get you closer to owning your first home.

Knowing which county you’re targeting is one thing, but what of individual cities? If we take a closer look, we see there is anything up to a seven-year deposit gap between cities in England.

If, for example, you have your sights set on London or Guildford, you should expect to wait around nine years to get a foot on the ladder. Of course, other areas of the country are substantially cheaper; these include Leicester, Manchester and Sheffield, where it takes an average of 3.5 years.

It’s worth remembering, that if you plan to use your LISA allowance to buy a house, the value of the property can’t exceed £450,000. This applies regardless of where it is in the country, including London. And if you decide to take the money out of your LISA without adhering to these restrictions there’s a hefty price to pay – you forfeit 25% of the total value of your Lifetime ISA, which could be more than you’ve contributed.

The positive news is that the LISA allowance applies per person, so things do become significantly easier if you’re choosing to buy a property with a partner or friend. The money from your LISA can also be used to purchase property under a shared ownership scheme, provided the full value of the property falls within the £450,000 limit.

If you want to see how your chosen city ranks, we’ve included a list of the 10 most and least affordable cities in England.

The least affordable cities in England for first-time buyers

The most affordable cities in England for first-time buyers

* The research uses data on the average house prices in different cities in England by the Land Registry.

** 10% deposit is frequently the minimum required for house purchase

At Nutmeg, we’re helping over 16,000 Lifetime ISA customers to reach their financial goals and we’ve already invested more than £7 million in government bonuses for them. We want to make sure you get more from your investments, which is why we make sure your bonus is automatically invested in the same way as your contributions, rather than being held in cash.

Risk warning

As with all investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your portfolio with Nutmeg can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.

A Lifetime ISA may not be right for everyone

  • You must be 18–39 years old to open one.
  • If you need to withdraw the money before you’re 60, and it’s not for the purchase of a first home up to £450,000, or a terminal illness, you’ll pay a 25% government penalty. So you may get back less than you put in.
  • Compared to a pension, the Lifetime ISA is treated differently for tax purposes. You may be better off contributing to a pension.
  • If you choose to opt out of your workplace pension to pay into a Lifetime ISA, you may lose the benefits of the employer-matched contributions.

A Lifetime ISA may not be right for everyone and tax rules may change in the future. If you are unsure if a Lifetime ISA is the right choice for you, please seek independent financial advice.


Research methodology

  • The research uses data on the average house prices in different cities in England by the Land Registry.
  • The calculations are based on net contributions only and do not take into account either interest earned on cash Lifetime ISAs, or the potential gains/losses on a stocks and shares Lifetime ISA.
  • The calculations assume a first-time buyer has no previous savings when they open their Lifetime ISA.
  • The calculations do not take into account any fees for holding a Lifetime ISA. More information on Nutmeg’s costs and charges is available here –

 Nutmeg Lifetime ISA customer data correct as at 31stOctober 2019.


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The Nutmeg team

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