'Second-steppers' struggle to move up the property ladder

Getting on the property ladder as a first-time buyer is challenging enough, but moving up it can be even harder.

A quarter of 'second stepper' homeowners said that they found the process of buying their next home even harder than buying for the first time, according to new research by Lloyds Banking Group.

Steep moving costs, stamp duty bills and problems finding the right property have meant 52% of those who'd planned to move up the property ladder in the past 12 months have found it impossible to do so.

Low savings rates have also hindered second steppers, the bank said, making it much harder for them to build the funds they need to move home.

Movers making sacrifices

More than a third of those questioned said that they would have children later in life, or have fewer children than they'd originally planned, due to the challenges they faced buying their next home. Over one in 10 said that they had to change their career to move up the housing ladder.

Second-steppers were more positive about high house prices, claiming that these helped them to achieve the asking price they wanted for the home they were selling. Less than one in 10 said they'd be prepared to lower their asking price to attract buyers.

Buyer priorities

When choosing their next home, second steppers placed a driveway at the top of their priority list, with a garden and a kitchen/diner also making the top three.

Of those who said they were prepared to sacrifice certain things on their wish-lists, most said that they would forgo having a conservatory or a garage.

Over a quarter (28%), however, said they wouldn't be willing to give up anything on their 'must-have' list of features, even if it made it easier for them to find their next home.

Improving rather than moving

Given all the challenges people face when moving onto the second step of the property ladder, increasing numbers are opting to stay put and improve their existing properties instead.

The number of planning applications submitted across the UK over the past five years has risen by 27% according to Halifax. London has seen the highest increase in applications, recording a 60% rise since 2012.

Single storey extensions and loft conversions are the most popular changes people make, although basements have seen the most significant increase in applications. Conservatories and porches, however, are falling out of favour, with a 3% fall in applications over the past five years.


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