Jan 20 2012 by Lorraine Waddell, Lennox Herald (main ed)
WEST Dunbartonshire is one of the cheapest places to stay in the UK.
Figures revealed last week by the Bank of Scotland show mortgage payments are at their lowest level in Scotland.
And in West Dunbartonshire, just 16.2 per cent of the average person’s earnings are spent paying for a home.
Nationally, the average homeowner dedicates 20 per cent of their earnings to home loan repayments.
Solicitor Stephen Mullan from McArthur Stanton, based in Dumbarton town centre, admits he is surprised at the statistics.
He said: “I don’t think house prices are significantly lower here than elsewhere.
“I don’t think Dumbarton is any different to other areas such as Renfrewshire.”
But the legal expert feels people are saving more as a deposit before securing the property which could be reducing monthly payments.
Mr Mullan continued: “People are maybe borrowing less but have put more down.
“More clients are putting more towards their purchases and also there’s not that many first time buyers.
“If you are a second time buyer, you have usually made at least a small profit on your first place.
“If you plough that into the price of your second place it will help with the cost of your new house.
“Admittedly the banks will loan less of a percentage now.
“You will be lucky to get in excess of 80 per cent of the value of the property.”
Mr Mullan also cites the lack of first time buyers as a hindrance to the recovery of the housing market with only one solution available.
He said: “The difficulty for first time buyers at the moment is that they can’t get the loan funds.
“The only people that can break that circle are the banks.
“They need to start lending higher percentages again.
“They really need to try and encourage first time buyers.”
In November, figures from the Registers of Scotland revealed that house prices in the region rose by £8000 on the previous year, although the number of sales fell with 28 less transactions in summer 2011 compared to the previous year.