Press releases

Legal & General: Bank of Family lending varies across UK regions, with borrowers in the East of England receiving the largest sums

Housing affordability is worsening across all UK regions, forcing many aspiring homeowners to depend on financial gifting from relatives – the Bank of Family – to step onto the ladder, according to new data from Legal & General and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

20 Sep 2023

The report reveals that Bank of Family recipients may receive varying amounts of support depending on where they live. Surprisingly, levels of gifting don’t closely align to house price differences - according to the data, borrowers in the East of England are receiving the most support (av. £32,100), while those in the West Midlands receive the least (av. £19,800).

Huge gulf between the UK’s urban and rural markets

The data also indicates that the volume and individual size of Bank of Family gifting varies depending on whether the borrower lives in an urban or rural area. In 2023, Bank of Family is expected to support the financing of 216,500 urban home purchases. Meanwhile, the number of rural homes bought with support from the Bank of Family will be less than half that total, at 100,500.

Homebuyers in towns and cities are not only more likely to lean on the Bank of Family to buy a home, but they often need to borrow more than those in rural areas. The Bank of Family is estimated to gift £5.7 billion towards urban home purchases in 2023, accounting for 70% of the value of Bank of Family support and more than two-thirds (67%) of the transactions it facilitates. That equates to roughly £82bn worth of housing in 2023. The average gift or loan size for an urban home is also higher at £26,200, compared to £23,900 for a rural property.

Bank of Family propping up purchases up and down the country, but with huge regional variations

Although house prices appear to be softening, homebuyers are still facing worsening affordability across the UK property market. The Bank of England base rate increased from 0.1% in December 2021 to 5.25% in August 2023, significantly increasing mortgage costs, with the average repayment for a semi-detached house rising by 61% across all UK regions from 2022 to 2023.

These wider affordability currents are reflected in Legal & General’s report, which investigates the amount of property transactions in each UK region that received funding by a loan or gift from the Bank of Family. Buyers in London are by far and away the most likely to receive financial aid from family members, perhaps unsurprising with the average house price standing at almost double the UK average (£534,000 compared to £286,005 in April 2023). In fact, the survey suggests Bank of Family supported two-thirds (67%) of recent homebuyers in the capital, more than double the proportion of the second-placed region (the North West at 36%).

Legal & General also recorded the average size of Bank of Family financial gifts across all UK regions.

London, the South East, the East of England and the South West see the greatest contributions from the Bank of Family. However, there is not always a direct correlation between regional house prices and the average size of a Bank of Family gift. The East of England leads the way across all UK regions for the highest average Bank of Family gift or loan at £32,100 despite its lower house prices, trumping even London gifting at £30,000.

Find out more about the regional variation in Bank of Family lending with Legal & General’s interactive map, here.

Kevin Roberts, Managing Director, Legal & General Mortgage Services: “Up and down the country, the Bank of Family is making significant financial sacrifices to help family members onto the housing ladder. Support is concentrated in urban and southern areas, where house prices are the highest, but is prevalent across the UK. While a brilliant lifeline for those able to draw on it, many people will not have access to such generosity and this widespread support is indicative of deep, underlying affordability issues affecting the UK.”

Significant gender split in borrowers seeking professional financial advice

Despite the Bank of Family being set to support a record number of home purchases in 2023, Legal & General’s survey also found that many recipients are not seeking professional advice. Aspiring buyers who draw upon family support largely do not speak to an adviser before accepting family help, with just 39% of borrowers seeking guidance from a mortgage broker or professional adviser during their Bank of Family transaction. More than a quarter (28%) did not seek any advice at all.

Gender also plays a crucial role in borrowers’ decisions to seek professional advice. At 46%, women are far more likely to speak to a professional adviser than men (30%). In comparison, men (42%) were much more likely to depend on advice from friends than women (29%). Overall, 35% of all respondents asked friends and acquaintances who had similar experiences for advice.

Kevin Roberts, Managing Director, Legal & General Mortgage Services: “The Bank of Family has not only become a major lender – the ninth largest in the UK if it were a formal entity – but also a significant source of financial advice, with less than 40% of financial aid recipients seeking professional guidance before their transactions.

"The gender dynamics at play are also fascinating. At 46%, women are far more likely to speak to a professional adviser than men at 30%. In comparison, men are much more likely to depend on advice from friends than women, at 42% compared to just over a quarter (29%).

"In such a challenging economic climate, buyers must not overlook the insights that an adviser can bring to even the most complex of property transactions. Failing to do so could prove a very expensive mistake later down the line.” 

Read the full report on the Legal & General website here. Find out more about how families can support each other when it comes to homeownership in the Legal & General Guide to Gifting here. 



Unless otherwise specified all figures given in the release are drawn from Legal & General’s 2023 Bank of Family research. Read more details on this, here. 


Avg. house price 

Avg. house price growth YoY (%) 

Mean gross weekly earnings of full-time employees (£) 

Mean gross annual earnings of full-time employees (£) 

Avg. BoF contribution 

North East 






North West 






Yorkshire and the Humber 






East Midlands 






West Midlands 






East of England 












South East 






South West 























Bank of Family 

Source: Legal & General’s 2023 Bank of Family research

Bank of Family Methodology

The Bank of Family research was compiled using original survey data as well as existing data sources relating to transaction levels. The survey work was carried out by YouGov. For the borrowers’ survey the total sample size was 2,613 adults who have purchased a home in the past 5 years or are considering purchasing a home in the next five years. For the lenders’ survey, the total sample size was 2,006 grandparents/parents aged 55+ with children/grandchildren aged 16+. Fieldwork for both surveys was undertaken between 11th – 19th May 2023. Both surveys were carried out online. In order to arrive at the overall value of the Bank of Family (in terms of the value of lending) we used data from the survey to obtain the share of transactions supported by the Bank of Family and the average value of the assistance. This was then scaled up using forecasts from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for total property transactions. The underlying data for property transactions come from the HMRC and are published as a part of national statistics.

Further information

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Claire Byrd

Senior PR Manager

Legal & General Retail

Notes to editors

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with £1.2 trillion in total assets under management1 of which 40% is international. We have a unique and highly synergistic business model, which continues to drive strong returns. Legal & General provides powerful asset origination and management capabilities directly to clients, which also underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions. We are a leading international player in Pension Risk Transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Our purpose is to improve the lives of our customers and create value for our shareholders. Through inclusive capitalism, we are investing in long-term assets, such as real estate and infrastructure, that can help build a better society for the future.

1Data as at 31 December 2023.

Legal & General Retail helps create brighter financial futures for all our customers. The division covers the savings, protection and retirement needs of our c.14 million retail policyholders and workplace members.  

In 2023, we had total individual annuity sales of £1,431 million, and issued £299 million of Lifetime Mortgages and Retirement Interest Only Mortgages. Our Workplace pension platform served 5.2 million members, while our Protection businesses gave peace of mind to several million direct, group and US customers, taking in £1,991 million of UK and $1,584 million of US gross written premiums.