First-time buyers are putting significant strain on their health, relationships and careers in their quest to take their first step on the property ladder.
According to research from specialist bank Aldermore, nearly half (47%) said they had to "rebuild their lives" after buying a home – a figure that is up from 40% last year.
More than half (52%) were made ill by the stress of home buying, up significantly on last year’s figure of 35%. Nearly half of first-time buyers (46%) also said the process put their personal relationships under strain – perhaps not surprising given 48% had seen a home purchase fall through. The provider also reveals that around four in 10 (43%) of recent first-time buyers gave up being self-employed because it made it harder for them to get a mortgage.
Commenting on the findings, Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of charity Anxiety UK, says: “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.”
Damian Thompson, director of mortgages at Aldermore, adds: “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 on health, personal relationships and careers.”
Homebuying ultimately ‘worth the stress’
While first-time buyers may struggle with the emotional challenges of buying property, the good news is that nearly three-quarters (72%) say it is worth the stress. The same amount also believes the process has brought them closer to their partner - despite the ups and downs they may have suffered along the way.
Ms Lidbetter says there is also much all home buyers can do to stay sane during the process. She adds: “the five ways to wellbeing, an evidence-based approach, recommends connecting, being active, taking notice of your environment and learning. These simple and often cost-neutral steps have been proven to bring about positive mental wellbeing.”
She adds: “For those with higher levels of stress and who may be at the point of developing an anxiety disorder, we recommend seeking help. Your GP is well-placed to provide advice and information; Anxiety UK too offers a range of accessible support services, including a national network of trained anxiety experts, developed to fit around people’s modern, busy schedules.”