FIRST-time buyer Laura Lewis has just agreed to buy her first home in Ebbw Vale, but not without facing a hurdle or two along the way.

The 27-year-old and her husband Mark Lewis, who currently rent, have purchased a mid-terrace in School Road, Rassau.

Mrs Lewis, who works as a solicitor in the area, had found a property the year before, only to discover it had evidence of subsidence.

She and her husband Mark started to look seriously again after Christmas.

They finally found a house in School Road, but the dream was almost ended after the home was revalued from £100,000 to £90,000.

The situation was complicated by an initial offer by the homeseller to gift a 10 per cent deposit.

“When it was valued it was valued at 10 per cent less,” said Mrs Lewis.

This meant that the gifted deposit was effectively wiped out and left the couple with just a five per cent deposit – not enough for their mortgage provider’s 15 per cent requirement.

“We almost had to pull out. I thought we were never going to be able to fund it,” she said.

But Mr and Mrs Lewis cut back and eventually raised enough cash to purchase the house.

Overall, Mrs Lewis said finding a mortgage was a “nightmare” and that many rates were “extortionate”.

The Bank of England’s historically low base rate had not helped them.

“The best we could get was over six per cent. They are not offering any variable rate mortgages,” she said.