First-time buyers currently have to spend close to 10 times their average salary for a property in North Somerset.

A national survey suggests the steadily-increasing house prices in the region, and across the UK, have delayed many potential homeowners from getting onto the property ladder.

With an average salary of £25,628, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), first-time buyers would have to fork out £253,018 to take the daunting first step onto the property ladder - 9.5 times their annual salary.

Weston-based mortgage advisor, Michael Thompson admits that, in his 25 years in the housing market, this is the toughest time to jump on the property ladder - but that it isn't all doom and gloom.

"Considering the average salaries, first-time buyers in the South West are trending with the rest of the country in terms of prices," he told the Mercury.

"What I am seeing now, more than ever, with clients, is that they find their dream home but someone with a bigger budget is able to come along and outbid them.

"For this reason, and the cost of living crisis, I agree that this is the hardest time to get onto the property ladder I have seen in the past 25 years.

"However, as tough as the market is right now, there are still some great schemes out there which are not being utilised."

Michael highlights three government schemes which may be of use to first-time buyers struggling to get foot on the property ladder.

He describes: "The First Homes scheme enables buyers to purchase homes with a 30-50 per cent discount on their market value - though this comes with some restrictions.

"Namely, you may have to live within a certain area or have a certain job - these are often restricted to people who work in the armed forces, police service or NHS.

"You also have the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme which comes to an end in October. Very popular but has some downsides as you take out a 20 per cent equity loan and have to start paying this back in five years' time so could be a timebomb.

"Finally, Shared Ownership is one of the strongest yet underused schemes which allows you to purchase a stake in a house and then pay rent to the landlord for the remaining share they own."

A study by the Nationwide Building Society found that 70 per cent of first-time buyers across the UK are likely to delay property purchases by an average of two years.

However, some residents do not have the time to wait and may be forced to move away from their families in order to afford a roof over their heads.

A couple, who wished not to be named, explained how this was the situation they faced before relocating to Portishead.

"We had been looking to buy a home in Bristol but the prices were too high for our budget and we had to find somewhere quick.

"We were not aware of any support schemes at the time so we felt alone in the process.

"This feeling was only worsened once we were handed the keys and found the property had been considerably damaged by the left tenant and the estate agent offered little support."

Thousands of pounds worth of damage had been left for the young couple to cover despite the property not being in the state which was promised when they agreed to the purchase.

"We began to get uncomfortable when the move-in date was delayed several times. The estate agent knew the circumstances we were in and why delaying things would prove to be so stressful.

"There were times we considered looking elsewhere again but we felt alone and would have been back to square one again."

For more information on the schemes mentioned in the article, visit