Second Steppers’ housing affordability improves

Nia Williams

September 2, 2013

The research showed:

 Housing affordability for Second Steppers – calculated as the average price of a typical Second Stepper home less their current equity position – stood at 4.4 times gross annual average earnings in June 2013 compared with a ratio of 4.9 in June 2012.

 A typical Second Stepper’s current equity position accounts for 13% (£21,200) of the price of an average Second Stepper home, a rise from 1% in 2012.

Although the position has improved for those looking to put down a deposit on a new home, for some potential second home movers this may still not be sufficient to put towards a deposit when also taking the cost of moving into account.

There were around 149,000 homemover mortgages in the first half of 2013, marginally (2%) lower than a year earlier as low consumer confidence and a fragile economy impacted transactions in the early part of 2013. This is in sharp contrast to the 19% increase in first-time buyers.

The average homemover deposit in 2013 currently stands at £70,540 and the average age of a homemover is 40.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Lloyds TSB, said: “Housing affordability for the typical Second Stepper has improved in the past year.

“Nonetheless, there are many potential Second Steppers who are still in their first home which they bought in the run-up to, and at, the peak in house prices in 2007. Many of these homeowners may still be unable to move due to having either very low, or negative, equity in their homes.

“The lack of equity for many homeowners in their existing home largely explains why the number of homemovers in the first six months of 2013 was broadly unchanged compared with a year earlier in sharp contrast to the number of first-time buyers growing by close to 20% over the period.”

There is considerable variation in housing affordability between regions, with northern regions more affordable than southern regions for second steppers. This is largely a reflection of the lower prices for second stepper properties in the north.

The West Midlands and East Midlands (both 3.1) are the most affordable regions for those in their first home looking to take their next step on the property ladder. While London (5.7), South West (4.6) and South East (4.5) are the least affordable.

The review also found:

 There were around 149,000 homemovers in the first half of 2013 – representing a modest (2%) decline on the same period a year earlier. Current homemover loans are less than half compared to the same period in 2007 (327,600), which was just before the start of the housing downturn.

 In total, homemovers in the first half of 2013 accounted for the smallest share of all homebuyers (55%) since the start of the Millennium (54% in 2000).

 While homemover sales have been flat over the past year, the first-time buyer market has been relatively buoyant with the number of loans growing by close to 20% over the same period.

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