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propertyfinder.com claims that the property ladder gets steeper the higher you climb

Amanda Jarvis

November 9, 2004

'Getting a foot on the property ladder is a difficult, but hugely satisfying step for most first-time buyers. But once you are ready to move off the first rung to a bigger home, prepare for the climb to get steeper and for each rung to be further away than the last.”

“Each successive rung on the ladder is a much greater step than the last, forcing homebuyers to stretch themselves further and further every time they trade up. On average across the UK a two-bedroom home is 1.29x the price of a one-bedroom home. A three-bedroom costs 1.72x a one-bedroom and a four-bedroom home 2.6x the price of a one-bedroom home.

Nicholas Leeming, director of propertyfinder.com commented: ‘Of course, larger houses have additional reception rooms and bigger gardens, but the number of bedrooms still provides a very reliable rough guide to the UK’s property ladder. This research shows how, far from getting easier, the climb gets tougher and the sums ever greater as you seek a larger home. A fourth bedroom costs almost as much as an entire one-bedroom home!’

In absolute cash terms, London is the most expensive in every category, but the value of large properties compared to small properties in the capital is not far out of line with the national average. Leeds shows the greatest divergence in value between large and small properties, with four-bedroom homes 3.34x the value of one-bedroom homes. Liverpool and Manchester show the least divergence.

When the cash value of each bedroom is considered, Leeds, Edinburgh and London stand out. Indeed, a fourth bedroom in Edinburgh at £186,000 costs almost as much as the £190,000 needed in London. On the other hand, a second bedroom in Liverpool costs just £5,000, almost one tenth of the cost of a second bedroom in Cardiff, and by far the cheapest in the country. See Chart 2.

Glasgow stands out as the only city in the UK where each successive bedroom is cheaper than the previous one which is explained by the recent comments of a Glasgow city council spokesman who noted that only 5% of the city’s homes are middle class, family houses. When people trade up the ladder in Glasgow, they tend to leave the city as a recent study on moving patterns by property website assertahome.com showed.

An obvious solution to needing more space is to extend your existing home. An additional room may cost only £15,000 to £35,000 to build, depending where you are in the country. In most cities, this is well below the cost of buying a larger home, especially when you consider the impact of stamp duty.

Nicholas Leeming said: ‘A sensitive, well-planned extension can be an excellent way of adding space and value to your home. However, cities such as Edinburgh and London are very densely built and additional rooms may be impossible to fit on, or from a planning and conservation perspective, prohibited. A badly planned add-on can be a disaster.’

Nicholas Leeming added: ‘With a fourth bedroom costing up to £190,000, you could just take an upmarket hotel room on full board for nearly five years!’


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