Getting onto the housing ladder may be a big step, but it is often only the first on the road to securing the home of your dreams. However, it now appears that more and more homeowners are finding themselves stuck on the same rung of the ladder, with one-third (33%) of surveyed homeowners revealing that they expected to be further up than they currently are.
According to research by Lloyds Bank, many homeowners in the UK are struggling to progress to their next home. The problem is particularly acute among first-time buyers, of whom 44% said that they had thought to be higher up the ladder by now.
The barriers to reaching the long-term goal of a family home appear to loom large for the vast majority of respondents, with 83% declaring that they think homeowners have to wait significantly longer to fulfil their home-owning aspirations than people did a decade ago. Two of the biggest barriers appear to be fears about personal finances (31%) and the present housing market (40%), with the latter proving to be a particularly big worry among first-time buyers, of whom 48% cited this factor as a major impediment to their housing progression.
This lack of progress certainly can't be attributed to larger-than-life ambitions. Although there has been a growth in the number of people who feel they need a larger home, the majority (43%) still desire a modest three bedroom house. However, acquiring a home of this size in places such as London and the South East, where the housing market has been particularly bullish, is a tall order. Indeed, applicants for three bedroom houses in these regions are, on average, 35 years old – one year older than the national average.
"Many current homeowners clearly still feel that they are not progressing up the ladder as quickly as they would like, with higher house prices in some regions meaning people are waiting longer to move into their long-term family home," commented Andy Hulme of Lloyds Bank.
Matters are hardly likely to improve in the short term. The most recent House Price Index from LSL/Acadata revealed that the average house price in England & Wales has now crept up to £273,528 - £34,192 higher than at the height of the housing boom. Shockingly, over half of that increase has been attained in the last year, after the average house price witnessed a year-on-year increase of 6.8%.
However, although the housing market is still witnessing annual increases, this latest year-on-year rise is the smallest seen in the last 14 months – suggesting that the market is finally beginning to mellow.
Homeowners are also still optimistic about eventually realising their housing goals. Just under two in three homeowners (63%) still expect to reach their long-term family home in less than five years while another 64% anticipate that it will only take one more move. Almost half (44%) also declared that their goals were realistic, suggesting that all is not lost among the homeowners of the UK.
If you're itching to make the next step on the road to your dream family home, then there is plenty you can do to prepare. Gathering together the funds you need to put down a good deposit is essential, so creating a healthy savings pot is a must. Check out our top savings accounts to find the perfect home for your moving funds.
If you've been on a fixed rate mortgage, or on a variable deal that you'd now like to switch, checking out the remortgage market could save you precious pounds. Now is an especially good time to look as mortgage rates and fees have been hitting record lows. Take a look at our best mortgage deals for inspiration. This is also an excellent starting place for when you are ready to finance your new purchase and move one step closer to your long-term goal.
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