Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Second-Steppers Are the 'Squeezed Middle'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Second-Steppers Are the 'Squeezed Middle'

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Wilson

THE plight of the "second-stepper" who are becoming the property market's new "squeezed middle" is identified in a new survey.

The report, by Rightmove, outlines how those looking to buy a home for the second time are often stuck in limbo, languishing on the bottom rung of the property ladder for longer than ever before.

The survey of more than 20,000 people found that a significant proportion of second-steppers - whose average age is now 41 - have been forced to put part of their lives on hold.

And the North East has the oldest second steppers in the country with an average age of 44.

Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove, said: "Many second steppers have had to shelve their family planning and home-moving ambitions since the onset of the credit crunch over five years ago.

"Second-steppers are the ugly ducklings of the housing market; overlooked for many government incentives, struggling to protect their equity if they bought near the peak, and now crammed into a home too small for their growing family needs."

Clive Rook, managing director of Rook Matthews Sayer estate agency, said: "In recent years the lower levels of demand from first-time buyers has had a knock-on effect for those taking their second step on the housing ladder.

"With house prices not rising, second-steppers have missed the boost to their equity, which rising prices gives and this, together with a tighter mortgage market, has made the second purchase difficult for many.

"The good news is that improvements in mortgage availability and increasing confidence in the market would suggest that there are better times ahead."

But two in five (40%) secondsteppers in the survey say their current home is too small for their family and 7% say they've even put off starting a family as they don't have enough space. Plus 11% are moving despite their home currently being worth less than they paid for it. …

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