Want to buy your second home? You’ll have to wait until you’re 42

We've all read about the challenges facing today's first-time buyers, but those ready to trade up to their second property are waiting an average of 14 years...

The plight of the first-time buyer is something we often hear about in the news – but second-steppers, those wanting to trade up to their second home, are often overlooked.

Research from the Post Office’s Step-Up report has highlighted the challenges facing second-time buyers.

The average age of a second-time buyer is now 42 – and assuming that you bought your first property at 28, that’s a wait of 14 years.

That’s in stark contrast to the 1960s, when buyers only had to wait an average of three years to move up to a larger home, and at a much younger age too. Between 1965 and 1969 the average first-time buyer was 25, moving into their second home at 28.

‘Second-time buyers now expect to wait until they are in their forties before moving on from their starter home,’ says John Willcock, Head of Mortgages at Post Office,
‘perhaps having to put on hold placing their roots or building a family home for years to come.’

Over a quarter (28%) of second-steppers can’t move because their property has not increased in value enough to afford the next rung on the ladder due to the stagnant property market, or, worse still, negative equity.

And those moving up the ladder are still affected by the situation of first-time buyers in the property market – as one in five second-steppers can’t find a buyer for their home.

Those thinking about moving up to a larger home reflect on their experiences as savvy homeowners and decide what they will do differently when they buy again – including researching areas more thoroughly, putting more money aside for costs, and, perhaps after one too many weekends spent on DIY, buy a property that doesn’t need renovation.

‘It’s clear that second-time buyers are finding it difficult,’ says John Willcock. ‘Stagnant property prices, the high costs involved in moving and lack of available properties have meant that many people are unable to move up the property ladder.’

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