Would-be second steppers stuck in first homes

Housing market sympathies are often reserved for first-time buyers. But making the second rung of the property ladder can be tougher still, according to Lloyds Bank.

What’s the latest?

Almost a quarter (23%) of first-time homeowners looking to take the next rung of the property ladder – so-called ‘second steppers’ – claim the move is more difficult than getting on the ladder in the first place, according to a survey from Lloyds Bank.

Over a third (35%) of respondents said they will delay having children because of their inability to move, while 12% intend having fewer children than they planned. A further 13% said they were forced to change their career to facilitate the purchase of their next home.

Second steppers are mostly couples and young families moving on from their first-time buyer flats, to houses offering more living space and a garden.

 

Second rung territory?: This four-bedroom family home with a driveway and garage in Crowthorne, Berkshire, is on the market for £585,000

Why is this happening?

More than half (56%) of respondents blamed low interest rates (which makes it difficult to save) for the delay in taking that second step.

And 39% claimed that, because of waning buyer demand, it was more difficult to selltheir current home compared to this time last year. However, only 9% said they would consider lowering the price to attract more interest from potential buyers.

Other culprits were the rise in general moving costs and the cost of stamp duty (which kicks in on homes priced over £125,000).

Collectively, these obstacles meant that 52% of first-time homeowners were being forced to stay put, despite having planned to upsize in the past 12 months.

What sort of home are second steppers looking for?

The dream property among second steppers would be a detached four-bedroom house with garage, driveway and kitchen/diner, according to Lloyds’ research.

But more than a quarter (28%) of respondents were unwilling to compromise on their personal list of ‘must-have’ features. Of those who were willing to make sacrifices, a conservatory would be the first to go, followed by a garage.

 

Second steppers’ dream: A four-bedroom property with large rear garden, double garage and driveway in Milton Keynes for £475,000When quizzed on the type of property they hoped to buy, second steppers typically said they wanted either a period home (35%) or a town-based new build (34%).

Once they’ve made the second rung, respondents plan to spend an average 10 years living in it.  About one-third (31%) envisage they won’t move again.

Top 3 takeaways

  • One-in-four second steppers say it was easier to buy their first home than to move up the property ladder
  • 35% will delay having children because of difficulties in upsizing
  • Second steppers say their dream home is a detached four-bedroom property

www.247propertyagent.com

Get your home ready for Christmas

With presents to buy, holidays to organise and food to prepare, it’s easy to neglect your home in the run up to Christmas. As always, we’re on hand to help, so here’s a list of quick fixes to get your home sparkling in time for 25th December.

December 15, 2016

home ready for Christmas

Bring Hygge into your home

  • Embracing the Danish concept of hygge doesn’t have to involve great effort or expense – it’s a Danish term for feeling cosy, spending quality time with friends and finding pleasure in ordinary, everyday moments. So lay out some cosy throws, plump up your cushions and enjoy some time with your loved ones
  • Nothing says homely and cosy as much as a fire or wood burning stove, but mess and hassle is the last thing we want at Christmas. Save yourself time and energy with instant lighting and long-burning wrapped logs. They don’t spit, you won’t need firelighters and you’ll have a roaring fire in an instant.
  • Ensure your heating is working properly – no one wants to be sitting in a cold house with no hot water on Christmas Day

home ready for Christmas

Make room to make merry

  • Declutter surfaces to make room for guests drinks glasses and bowls of nibbles. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to touch the fruit bowl for the next few weeks. Downsize to a small bowl of festive satsumas and make space for the mulled wine and mince pies
  • Simple touches like a candle-lit mulled wine warmer will look lovely when guests come round and help spread the gorgeous smells of Christmas around your home
home ready for Christmas

 

“Before-Christmas-itus”

It’s a mild illness that you’re probably still in the throes of; the obsessions to get that job done before Christmas. While it’s now unrealistic to say you could re-decorate the guest bedroom, you could at least replace those lightbulbs that went 6 months ago before visitors arrive…

  • A quick and easy trick to enhance lighting this time of year is the humble fairy light. Plus, they’re a much safer bet than candles if you’re hosting children or elderly relatives
  • Oil squeaky door hinges, wipe paintwork doors and bannisters and clean the windows, because while we’re wishing for a white Christmas, chances are the low winter sun will be glaring in on Christmas day and showing up how good your window cleaning skills are
  • If you’re still committed to getting that job done beforehand – no matter how big or small – then consider getting some extra help and find a home service professional with Plentific

home ready for Christmas

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…

  • Stock up on some festive scent diffusers
  • Water your Christmas tree! The last thing you want is to be hoovering up pine needles on Christmas morning. Tending to your tree should also ensure it continues to give off that lovely pine aroma
  • Get rid of any dodgy smells – clean pet beds and purge your fridge / cupboards of old food to make way for Christmas dinner!
  • Give your bathtub, sink and shower a good scrub in advance of planned – and the inevitable unexpected – visitors

home ready for Christmas

A welcoming first impression

  • Tidy up the front of your house so it looks just as good as the interior. While these tips are for home sellers, they’re good ideas that we could all use
  • Leave plenty of time to make up spare bedrooms with clean sheets and towels. It always takes longer than you think, so just set aside a block of time
  • Significantly more house fires happen at Christmas time, so make sure you test smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
  • Hang a festive wreath up on the front door

You’re all set, Merry Christmas!

Could Bridget Jones still afford that flat above Borough Market today?

Bridget Jones has made many mistakes, but spotting the one-bedroom flat she occupied in the first film was not one of them.

Sitting above the Globe Tavern, the flat has risen in value by more than 240pc since Jones’ screen debut in 2001, thanks not only to London’s overheated property scene but also to its proximity to the reinvigorated Borough Market.

The pub
The Globe Tavern this summer Credit: google street view

Back then, she would have paid around £190,000 for the flat, according to onthemarket.com, but would expect £650,000 were she to sell it today, despite the noise of two nearby railway lines.

Jones was a publisher in the first film, a job which, back then, would have commanded a salary of £23,000 – just enough to pay for the flat above the pub.

Today, that salary would perhaps allow Jones to get a mortgage of £90,000. This would make her unable to buy in London, though she could afford to rent in most places outside Zone 1.

Adjusted for inflation, her salary would today be £35,000, still unlikely to support the purchase of a house in the capital. But at least she could rent a very modest flat near Borough station.

But as all Bridget Jones fans will be pointing out, their heroine changed career to become a TV news producer. The new film, Bridget Jones’ Baby, hints that she is a high-flier.

Mixed reviews from industry figures for launch of new UK House Price Index

247 Property Agent Ltd.The first new ‘official’ UK House Price Index, released yesterday, has received mixed reviews from the industry.On the one hand there has been a long-time demand for there to be only one official index, to replace the Land Registry and Department of Communities and Local Government indices which, in recent years, have often painted conflicting pictures of the market.

On the other hand, the new index – which started with April data revealing an annual house price increase of 8.2 per cent, taking the average property value in the UK to £209,054 – suffers from some drawbacks according to experts.

“The two main drawbacks of this index are its historic nature and its immaturity. There are no robust statistics with which to make a comparison so it is difficult to compare like-for-like. However, going forward the figures will be particularly interesting after the EU vote one way or another, and as the index starts to mature” says Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent.

“Despite the excitement around the first release of this new index, it hasn’t really told us anything we don’t already know, rather confirmed the property outlook portrayed by Nationwide and Halifax in previous indices” says eMoov founder and chief executive Russell Quirk.

Meanwhile Charles Curran, principal and data analyst at Maskells Estate Agents, says the use of data from the Valuation Office to compile part of the index means that in theory “the new index will make it possible to appraise [the council tax of] every home in the country at the touch of a button.”

He adds: “While the new index may be of little use, or interest to the market itself, we feel certain it will be of great use to government. Certainly this new index would allow local authorities the necessary data to consider revaluing council tax which would provide a more meaningful and sustainable revenue for cash strapped local authorities.”

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