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Half of first-time homeowners say buying process made them ill

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First-time buyers are sacrificing health, relationships and careers to get on the housing ladder, research shows.

Over half of aspiring homeowners were made ill by the stresses of the buying experience – up from just over a third in 2017, a survey by challenger bank Aldermore found.

And 46% said the house purchasing experience caused issues in their relationship, up from 34% last year.

This may not come as a total surprise with almost half of first time buyers having a property fall through.

Wannabe homeowners also seem prepared to make career changes to get their foot on the property ladder with 43% of recent first time buyers saying their gave up being self-employed due to the difficulties of securing a mortgage. This compares to 32% in 2017.

Damian Thompson, director of mortgages at Aldermore, said: “With the average first-time homeowner taking almost six years to get on the property ladder, it is understandable that they will face challenges and hurdles along the way. However, it is concerning how negatively the house buying process is impacting health, personal relationships and careers.”

Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK, said: “Moving house can be a stressful event for anyone and frequently represents a time of transition and change. For first time buyers, typically young people, this big life event can come at a time when people are already coping with other life stressors including maintaining employment, building relationships and starting a family.

“As such, I am not at all surprised to hear that their wellbeing has been found to be adversely affected through the buying process, particularly with the rise in house prices. This has been somewhat reflective of the increased rates of anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression that we are seeing in all areas of society, and indeed here at Anxiety UK.”

Worth it in the end

Despite the sacrifices first-time buyers make, there is light at the end of the tunnel once they have the keys to their new home. Over seven in 10 (72%) believe the stress was worth it in the end, compared to just over a half (53%) in 2017. And 84% found the experience empowering compared to 69% last year.

Seven in 10 (72%) believed buying a home with their partner has brought them closer together. This is up from over a half (55%) in 2017.

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