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How many steps will you take on the ladder?

How many steps will you take on the ladder?

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 07/06/2017
First Published: 30/03/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

How many homes do you plan on owning in your lifetime? Chances are, the figure will be smaller than that of your parents', with the typical Brit now taking far fewer steps on the ladder.

The property ladder is getting shorter

According to research from LV=, it's estimated that today's 20 and 30-somethings will own just 1.7 homes on average over their lifetime, compared with the over-50s, who will own almost twice as many at 3.2. This shows just how short the property ladder is getting, and it's backed up with findings from HMRC: official figures show that the number of property sales has fallen by 21% since 2005, suggesting that fewer people are able to make the move to their next – or even first – property.

This is arguably down to a combination of rising house prices and stricter lending criteria, with many people being forced to rent for longer than they'd anticipated as homeownership becomes less attainable. Many are even forced off the ladder at a later date, while 32% of homeowners surveyed are stuck in a home that's too small for them, yet thanks to prices being so high, they're unable to take the next step.

Lower expectations

This has led to much lower expectations among today's under-50 homeowners, with most of those born after 1966 believing that they'll own fewer homes than their parents did, while those born before 1966 think they'll own more. In fact, moving house has become so unattainable that many Brits believe they are already in their 'forever' home, including 19% of those in their 30s.

Renting rather than buying a property has become the only option for a large proportion of the population, too, with 25% of those surveyed currently renting without ever having owned a property. Most do so because they're unable to buy, with 28% of renters admitting that they want to move to a bigger house but can't afford the deposit.

Move or improve?

For many homeowners who are unable to take the next step up the ladder, the next best thing is to improve the home they're already in. Converting lofts into living spaces, for example, or converting a basement or garage into a bedroom could be a great option for those who crave extra space but can't afford to move home, and in many cases this could be a far more cost-effective option.

The figures show that those who have improved their home spend an average of £9,000 on the necessary building work, and when comparing that to the costs of moving – and the price of a bigger home – it could well be the perfect choice.

As an added bonus, completing this kind of work could easily add value to your current property, and that could reduce the amount of mortgage you have in relation to your property's value. That means you could be in a lower LTV band, making it a great time to consider remortgaging, particularly with so many great deals around.

Even those who are thinking of taking the plunge and moving to a bigger home won't want to spend a fortune, and again, this is when the right mortgage can pay dividends. Rates are at record lows which means now is a great time to consider your options, and you may even find that a bigger home doesn't necessarily mean higher repayments. Finding the right mortgage deal can make the world of difference, and hopefully it'll help you take the next step up the ladder, too.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.