‘Second steppers’ trapped in first home

Lloyds TSB has launched its annual Second Stepper report, which tracks the ongoing plight of first time sellers amid a challenging housing market.

The report reveals that home affordability for Second Steppers has become much less favourable and declining house prices have led to equity shortfalls for many.

Second Steppers are homeowners looking to sell their first home and move up the ladder. Many potential Second Steppers in today’s market would have bought close to the peak of the market and are now finding it increasingly difficult to get off the ‘first rung’.

According to Lloyds TSB’s report, almost two thirds (61 per cent) of Second Steppers have wanted to climb up the ladder in the past 12 months but have been unable to do so as they face an increasing number of challenges.

More than one in five (22 per cent) believe it is now harder to move up the ladder than get on it in the first place, with almost half (43 per cent) also feeling it will be as equally difficult.

The report also revealed general pessimism about the future of the housing market; a third (34 per cent) believe it is going to be harder to sell their property this year than last, with more than half (53 per cent) predicting that the housing market will not improve this year.

A lack of affordable property to buy (35 per cent) and a lack of offers from potential first-time buyers (32 per cent), were cited as key barriers delaying the sale of people’s current property on top of a whole host of other challenges, including higher levels of deposit needed; a decline in the level of equity; rises in the cost of moving; and a decline in affordability.

Here, last year’s Second Steppers offer advice to 2012 home movers:

n Build up your savings as much as you can – you may need a higher deposit than you think and may need to take into account a fall in your equity position

n Be flexible, you will need to be prepared to lower your offer, or even look into renting your property rather than selling it

n Present your house to its best: declutter and redecorate – fix any problem areas prior to viewing

n Explore alternative ways to sell your property, such as private buyers or auction. This could save you money but will also open up your options

n Keep at it and be patient, it may take a while for you to sell your house, but there will be a buyer out there