Home owners finding it harder to make next step on ladder

Growing numbers of home owners planning to take their second step on the property ladder think it is getting harder to make the jump, a report has found.

Second steppers believe it will be more difficult to sell a property this year than last year. Picture: John Devlin

Despite typically sitting on more than £100,000 of equity, nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) of “second steppers” surveyed in December 2016 believe it will be more difficult to sell their home this year compared with 12 months ago.

This is an increase compared with 18 per cent of second steppers who felt this way when a similar survey took place in 2015, according to Lloyds Bank. Second steppers are often couples and young families moving on from their first-time buyer flats to get more space and a garden.

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The survey of more than 500 people found that in Scotland the average price gap between a typical first-time buyer property and a detached home in Scotland was £109,245.

The research found a lack of confidence about selling among this group, despite 45 per cent of second steppers feeling that their equity position has improved over the last year. Around one in three are considering staying put and improving their existing home rather than moving.

While 32 per cent said they are struggling to find the right property, 26 per cent are worried about the uncertain economic climate.

More than a third of second steppers want to move to a period property, with nearly the same proportion seeking a new-build home. Less than one in five would be willing to buy a home that needs renovation.

Based on the average length of time that home owners spend in a property, Lloyds assumed that today’s second steppers had bought their first home in 2012.

The average price of a first-time home across the UK at that time was £140,004. Now, the average first-time buyer house price is £205,723.

Lloyds said this price jump would provide second steppers with average equity of £105,068 to inject in their next home, around two-thirds of which is due to house price growth and the remainder due to the initial deposit and mortgage repayments made on their existing property.

This average equity equates to around a third of the typical price of a three-bedroom detached second stepper home, at £331,796.

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage director, said: “Second steppers are telling us that finding the right property can be tough, and because of that, they’re delaying their move.

“However, if too many second steppers hold out for a long time for their dream home, this could reduce the availability of homes for first-time buyers.”