'I'm 20 and I own a £250,000 four-bed house'

Ellie and Rory

For most people in their teens and 20s buying a property is a distant and unachievable dream.

It often means years of saving only to scrape enough together for a small flat.

But couple Ellie, 20, and Rory, 22, weren't prepared to accept the wait.

And now they are proud owners of a large four-bed detached home. Newsbeat went to Cheshire to find out what they did to make it all happen.

This is how they did it

Ellie and Rory bought their home via the government's Help to Buy scheme which meant they could borrow up to 20% of the cost of the property.

They needed to raise £12,500, which was 5% of the house value, plus other fees.

Critics and Labour say the scheme still doesn't help poorer people who can't afford to raise the deposit in the first place.

"We both grew up in detached homes. It's hard to explain without sounding like a huge snob. We were just used to having our own space."

Help to Buy in England has two different elements, although similar schemes are available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

You can either use the mortgage guarantee scheme or the equity loan scheme.

Mortgage guarantee means people with a small deposit get government backing on their ability to repay the rest of the loan.

It enables lenders to offer young buyers a 95% mortgage.

In the equity loan scheme the government lends 20% of the deposit for a house, which borrowers must pay back after 25 years or earlier if you sell your home (and you'll start paying interest after five years).

There is a catch - this arrangement is only available for new-build homes.

Ellie King
Image caption Ellie, 20, a legal secretary, said: "We were just used to having our own space."

They both saved £500 a month

Even with Help to Buy, Ellie and Rory still needed £18,000 in savings to cover the deposit and stamp duty. So they got saving.

"It was just being really strict with myself," says Ellie.

"I was on an apprentice wage last year. It was a case of always putting a certain amount away."

They both saved a minimum of £500 a month and lived with parents instead of renting for over two years.

It is hard but I don't think it is impossible, as some people make out
Rory

Here's the really tough bit - they also restricted their social lives.

Rory earned £27,000, the national average full-time wage, when they bought the house.

"It took being very disciplined sometimes," he explains.

"It is hard but I don't think it is impossible, as some people make out.

"Being an estate agent I see plenty of first-time buyers who've just got their heads down and done the graft.

"I also see plenty of people coming into rented houses complaining to me that they can't get a deposit together and I'm thinking, 'Say no to the night out mate.'"

Rory Schurer-Lewis
Image caption Rory works as an estate agent in Shropshire

But some people who've contacted us today say they have no chance of saving enough for that vital deposit, despite the help on offer.

Luke Wood left a comment on the Newsbeat Facebook page. He says it's much harder to get the money together if you are single.

"I take home around £1600 a month for working a 60 hour week, every week. Renting a one bed flat where I live sets you back in excess of £1000 a month.

"Then I have my car to pay for, insurance, tax, phone, food, lunch while at work, clothing amongst other things. I'm left with less than £300 a month spare money.

"I don't have the option of moving back home as there's no room. What's someone in my position meant to do?"

New help for homeowners

There is now another option. As of 1 December first-time buyers can now get a Help to Buy ISA that gives you a 25% cash boost on your savings.

But Labour say more still needs to be done to make housing more affordable.

The average age at which people are buying their first home has been getting older - it's now 31.

Rory's house
Image caption Rory admires his home (actually he was putting the bins out)

"The government has got to do much, much more," MP John Healey, shadow cabinet minister for housing and planning, told Newsbeat.

"It's a scandal that over the last five years the number of young people owning a home has plummeted by more than 20%,."

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