FOR anyone who is doing their best to save for a deposit on their first home, a new study from a group of mortgage advisors will make depressing reading. According to the company’s figures, the average deposit needed for first-time buyers in Glasgow is £21,876; in Edinburgh it is £37,661; and in London it is a staggering £139,987. Even in a country used to rising house prices, those are pretty extraordinary figures.

But it gets worse. Despite everything we should have learned from the credit crunch – which was caused in a large part by an out-of-control housing market – deposits are going to carry on rising. The projection by L&C Mortgages is that within ten years, first-time buyers will need to raise almost £60,000 if they are in Edinburgh and in London the figure will have risen to £244, 842. A quarter of a million pounds and that’s just the deposit.

One of the main reasons we ended up here is our obsession with home ownership over other options. In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher fed the obsession by introducing right-to-buy which reduced the stock of social housing. Private rental, which is typically short-term, is also a poor alternative for many people, particularly families with children. And with low interest rates, the cost of a mortgage still compares favourably to long-term rent.

But, with house prices continuing to rise, how are first-time buyers expected to be part of this so-called home-owning revolution? Saving for a large deposit is extremely hard if not impossible for most people, particularly with interest rates low and wages stagnating. Some people will rely on their parents, but not everyone has a mum and dad that can afford to help.

The over-heated nature of the market also makes it hard for first-time buyers. Typically, a house will be advertised as “offers over” which means that, not only does a first-time buyer have to raise the deposit, they have to pay a large amount over the asking price. It is hard to see how first-time buyers get anywhere at all, particularly in a market like Edinburgh’s.

Undoubtedly, the Help to Buy scheme has made a bit of a difference. The Scottish Government should also look at copying the UK Government’s move to exempt first-time buyers south of the border from stamp duty on the first £300,000 of the purchase price. The First Minister says a tax break on purchases up to £175,000 would be enough, given lower house prices in Scotland, but perhaps Ms Sturgeon should look again at some of the prices of houses in the country’s hot spots.

A big increase in the number of affordable houses would also help. The Scottish Government says it will deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, but there must be questions over whether that is achievable. Where will the land come from, and where will the money come from? The hope must be that more homes would make life easier, but even 50,000 isn’t going to change the economic fundamentals. Sadly, for first-time buyers, they are still stacked high against them.