Buying a second home and moving up the property ladder is more difficult than buying a home for the first time, 60 per cent of ‘second steppers’ claim.
With uncertainty about how the property market will fare after Brexit and the costs involved in buying a new home rising, many buyers looking for a second home are struggling to sell their first property.
To make matters worse, an increasing number of homeowners are shunning the idea of moving at all and are simply expanding their current homes, prompting a shortage in the number of homes coming up for sale in certain areas.
Tough: 60% of ‘second steppers’ say buying a second home is more difficult than buying a first
Just over a third of potential second steppers feel it is harder to sell their current property now compared than a year ago, research from Lloyds Bank revealed.
On average, surveyed second steppers had been in their first property for three and a half years, and expect to wait another 18 months before moving up the ladder.
‘It is definitely harder to buy a second property now’
Georgia Dayton, with her two-year-old son, Axel, and husband James
Georgia Dayton is 29 and lives in Woodford with her husband, James, also 29, and son, Axel, who is two.
Georgia works in communications and co-runs a parenting blog and her husband is a football player.
Georgia and James purchased their first home a year ago and are now looking to move up the property ladder.
They are worried about how easily they will be able to sell their current home and whether they will be able to move into the house they want within budget.
Georgia told This is Money: ‘We currently have a 3 bedroom house but we’re looking for a 4 bedroom.
‘The motivation for us to move is to expand our family as our first child is two now. We are looking to move a bit further afield but in a similar area.
‘It is definitely the case that it is harder to buy a second property now.
‘We thought that we might have to rent our property to someone and rent out another property for ourselves, if we can’t sell. We don’t want to sell our house for less than its worth.
‘We have just started looking for another property now. Our house is not up for sale yet.’
Georgia added: ‘Properties aren’t selling as quickly. People are doing a lot of extensions instead and other home renovation a lot more instead of moving.
‘It’s going to be quite difficult to do what we want to do within our price range despite us both having good jobs.
‘I have a second income and we both work really hard but it’s still difficult.’
Georgia is also also acutely aware of how difficult the situation is for many first-time buyers.
She said: ‘I think it is difficult for first time buyers to get on the property ladder and with everything going on in the UK at the moment, people are cautious. Youngsters are not able to get a mortgage.’
Around 27 per cent said they were considering staying put and improving their first home in case they cannot sell it and move up the ladder within the time frame they had in mind.
While some are making do with their first home, for over half of second steppers, the ultimate dream is be able to afford a detached house.
Many are looking to move to secure a bigger home for an expanding family, a better lifestyle, better job opportunities or an area with lower house prices.
While practicalities often drive a second move, wish-lists remain firmly rooted. Most second-time buyers want a home with three or four bedrooms, a driveway, garden, garage and kitchen-diner room, the findings claim.
Location is another important factor, with distance to work, transport links and catchment areas for schools all high on the list of many second-time buyers.
Andrew Mason, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank, said: ‘When considering their next property purchase, second steppers typically look for more space, a better location and a garden.
‘However, first-time sellers now say they have to wait longer to take the next step in the current buyers’ market.
Wish-list: Most second-time buyers want a home with three or four bedrooms
‘The move up the ladder for second steppers is often linked with their aspirations in life, meaning they’ll have to wait until they have raised enough money or found the right property.
‘This is an important step, however, as movement from second steppers helps with the flow of properties suitable for first-time buyers on the market.’
According to Lloyds’ findings, the average age of a second-time buyer is 33 and stems from a household with an average total annual household income of £57,291.
For a number of years, the government’s focus when it comes to the housing market has been on helping first-time buyers purchase a home. Back in 2013 Help to Buy was the then Chancellor George’s Osborne’s answer to a growing crisis, lending buyers up to 20 per cent of a new-build home’s value interest-free for five years, to make it easier and cheaper to buy.
In last month’s Budget, current Chancellor Phillip Hammond extended the Help to Buy scheme until March 2023.