Second steppers sacrifice major life decisions as they struggle to save for their ‘dream home’

19 March 2018


  • Second time buyers find it more difficult to move home than a decade ago
  • Moving costs, size of deposit and affordable housing among most significant barriers
  • Sacrifices to move include delaying starting a family or freezing wedding plans
  • More than half are aiming for a ‘detached home’, and a fifth refuse to make any compromises

People are putting their lives on hold as they struggle to save towards their ‘dream home’, new research1 reveals. Almost nine in ten (86%) people living in their first home think it is harder now than a decade ago to make the jump to their second home, according to the Nationwide Building Society poll.

The top barriers to moving home by potential second time buyers include finding a home within budget (38%), finding a home in the right location (25%), having a large enough deposit (18%), not being able to cover moving costs (15%) and being in negative equity (8%). One in five (21%) said they have found themselves stuck in a house that is too small for their family or in an area they don’t like due to housing affordability (16%).

The survey of more than 1,000 Brits living in their first home found that the average cost of the next property is £370,539, which leaves many buyers still finding themselves in need of a financial helping hand to move. As well as one in seven (14%) having to borrow money from family to support a move, eight in ten (85%) would have to make some sort of sacrifice to be able to move up the housing ladder. Around a quarter would need to change their career or job (27%) or increase working hours (26%). Just under a fifth would need to make significant changes to lifestyle (19%), while the same proportion would need to delay plans for starting a family (19%) and 16 per cent would put on hold any plans to get married.

When asked what they would be willing to give up to move up the housing ladder, more than half (55%) said they would forego nights out, followed by eating out (48%) and holidays or weekends away (33%). One in seven (14%) said they would even give up a spouse or partner if it meant they could move up the property ladder, although men (22%) were more likely to choose this option than women (7%).

The poll reveals that when it comes to compromising on the next property, a conservatory would be the first item second time buyers would be willing to forgo (35%), followed by a garage (29%), a driveway (22%), and ideal schools (20%). By contrast, the size of the bathroom (11%) the size of the kitchen (11%) and the number of bedrooms (13%) were the least likely items to be struck off the wish list. Just under nine in ten (88%) also said they would consider buying a property that needed renovating if it was significantly cheaper to buy.

Despite the struggles experienced by potential second time movers, one in five (21%) of those surveyed said they weren’t willing to forgo anything at all on the next property they bought. More than half (55%) want their next home to be detached, and more than a quarter (26%) want it to be their forever home (26%). Just over a third (35%) said they were holding out for their dream home.

Of those surveyed, eight in ten (80%) said they could be convinced to stay in their current home if they could make some changes, including an extension (37%), a kitchen or bathroom renovation (29%), more land (27%), better neighbours (15%) or better schools nearby (9%).

Henry Jordan, Nationwide’s Director of Mortgages, said: “There is a great deal of focus on the difficulties facing first time buyers trying to get onto the property ladder but, as the research shows, second time buyers are facing a variety of difficult challenges of their own. Many are having to make compromises in terms of size or location of their new home, or make spending cutbacks and personal sacrifices to move and avoid becoming stuck in a property that isn’t appropriate for their changing needs.

“Nationwide is committed to supporting those looking for options to move home and take a step up the housing ladder.”

Notes to Editors:

1Research by Censuswide: total sample size was 1,006 UK adults living in their first home. The survey ran from the 26.01.2018 to 30.01.2018

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