Research by estate agent comparison site GetAgent.co.uk has revealed first-time buyers (FTBs) are now paying 10% more than a year ago, while existing homeowners have seen the cost of buying increase by 11%.
Nevertheless, the price paid by first-time buyers continues to sit considerably lower than that paid by existing homeowners, at £214,452 compared with £299,590.
The average cost of taking a second step up the ladder is therefore 40% more expensive than the first, with this gap increasing from 38% just a year ago.
Scotland is home to the biggest gap, with existing homeowners paying 49% more than FTBs, followed by the South East (47%) and the South West and West Midlands (39%).
At a local level, the gap grows even further. In Elmbridge, the average first-time buyer pays £453,521 while home movers face an average price of £791,740 – 75% more.
Woking is also home to a considerably large gap at 67%, with Surrey Heath (64%), Mole Valley (63%), Horsham (63%), Clackmannanshire (61%), Perth and Kinross (61%), Stirling (60%), Waverly (60%) and East Dunbartonshire (60%) also making the top 10.
Meanwhile, six of the top 10 smallest gaps are located in London, with FTBs paying more in the City of London compared to existing homeowners, while in Tower Hamlets the gap is just 6%.
Other areas that present the easiest step between first and second homeownership include Blaenau Gwent (15%), Kingston upon Hull (18%) and Gosport (15%).
Colby Short, founder and CEO of GetAgent.co.uk, said: “While we’re a nation of aspirational homeowners, realising this aspiration continues to grow ever harder for those looking to buy their first home.
“Although they pay far less than the rest of the market, it still amounts to a huge financial obstacle and, unfortunately, the cost of climbing the property ladder continues to climb.
“In fact, taking that second step will also come at a cost which in some areas can be as much as 75% higher than the price paid for a first home.
“Of course, the plus side is that many are able to better overcome this additional cost by financing their next purchase via a mortgage and with the sale of their existing home.
“In addition, many will have also benefited from an increase in the value of their home which may also help them bridge the gap between rungs.”