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Research Reveals Obstacles to Moving up the Property Ladder

Much has been written about the difficulties facing first time buyers as they strive to take the first step onto the property ladder, however new research has revealed that homeowners looking to move up to the second rung on the ladder are also experiencing problems.

The research, by Nationwide Building Society, found that 86% of people living in their first home think it is harder now than a decade ago to make the jump to their second home.

Main Barriers

The top barriers to moving home mentioned by these potential second time buyers include:

  • finding a home within budget (38%),
  • finding a home in the right location (25%),
  • having a large enough deposit (18%),
  • not being able to cover moving costs (15%),
  • and being in negative equity (8%).

As many as 21% of those questioned said they are still living in a house that is too small for their family or in an area they don’t like (16%) due to housing affordability.

Sacrifices and Compromises

The average cost of the next property for people living in their first home is £370,539. Around 85% of respondents said they would have to make some sort of sacrifice to be able to afford this, and the types of sacrifices they are apparently prepared to make include:

  • nights out (55%),
  • eating out (48%),
  • and holidays or weekends away (33%).

One in seven (14%) even said they would give up a spouse or partner if it meant they could move up the property ladder, although men (22%) were more likely to choose this option than women (7%).

Second-steppers are also willing to compromise on the type of property they move to. A conservatory would be the first item they would be willing to forgo (35%), followed by a garage (29%), a driveway (22%), and ideal schools (20%).

However, items they are less willing to compromise on include the size of the bathroom (11%), the size of the kitchen (11%) and the number of bedrooms (13%). Around 88% also said they would consider buying a property that needed renovating if it was significantly cheaper to buy.

“There is a great deal of focus on the difficulties facing first time buyers trying to get onto the property ladder but, as the research shows, second time buyers are facing a variety of difficult challenges of their own,” commented Henry Jordan, Nationwide’s Director of Mortgages. “Many are having to make compromises in terms of size or location of their new home, or make spending cutbacks and personal sacrifices to move and avoid becoming stuck in a property that isn’t appropriate for their changing needs.”

A Key Link on the Property Ladder

The findings of Nationwide’s survey were echoed in a separate piece of research, this time by Bank of Scotland, which also found evidence of second steppers finding it difficult to move up the property ladder.

It found that 50% of second steppers believe it will be more difficult to sell their home this year, with worries over the economy, the size of the deposit they’ll need and shortage of family-friendly properties.

“Second Steppers are the link between first time buyers and the rest of the housing ladder,” commented Graham Blair, Bank of Scotland mortgages director. “They are living in the homes that the first time buyers need to buy so it’s vital that this part of the market keeps moving.”

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