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    Over our Heads
    Case studies: the property ladder
    Over our heads
    Is housing over our heads?
    It's one of the biggest issues facing 18-40 year olds today. Getting on the property ladder and then moving up it! We asked people all over Beds, Herts and Bucks about their experiences.

    Over our Heads page

    Case studies: the property ladder

    BBC Homes

    Watchdog guide to buying and renting

    One Life: Property Law

    BBC News: Check house prices

    Just for fun: Guess the price!

    House prices in Beds, Herts and Bucks

    Caught in a trap...

    Meet my parents...

    Thirty and still at home....

    Forced to return...

    Hi Mummy I'm home...

    First foot on the ladder

    What lies beneath? Big bills...

    So near, yet so far...

    Shared ownership, at a premium...

    No premiums allowed!

    The rent trap

    The shared option?

    The next move?

    Going north

    Mortgage misery

    In good decorative order and well presented!

    An Englishman's home is.. his pension?

    Affordable housing - pull the other one!

    Key workers get the key to the door!

    Interview with Kerry Pollard MP

    The Jetsons come to MK…well almost!

    Decoration, decoration, decoration
    Win a set of DIY Books!


    At a glance - the home-buying process

    More buying tips

    Property prices from the Land Registry

    Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

    Council of Mortgage Lenders

    British Bankers Association

    BBC News - Endowment Mortgages

    Collinsons - Tips for selling your home

    DG Property Services

    London Strategic Housing

    St Albans District Council

    Oakgrove - MK

    English Partnerships

    Milton Keynes Council



    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

    Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in you life. It is a lengthy and complicated business, which while exciting can often be stressful.

    Luckily there is a lot of good advice around so make sure you do your homework before you take the plunge.

    Simply put 'advice on buying a house' into a search engine!

    get in contact

    When chatting in the office we discovered that whether you bought your house 20 years ago, ten years ago or were just looking to buy your first home now, the property ladder was neither easy to get a foot on nor to move up!

    And even when you felt you had your optimum property, your position could be precarious.

    Basically, it seems that everybody can have a problem!

    We spoke to people all over Beds, Herts and Bucks to find out their situation, and what they planned to do about it.

    Stuck at home

    Caught in a trap .... London Colney
    ANDY: Andy, 25, lives in London Colney with his parents - and despite looking at all the options, can see little chance of his situation changing.
    Meet my parents Dave
    DAVE: Despite landing a decent job in London, Dave, 26, still has to live with his parents in Hertfordshire.
    Thirty .... and still at home My family
    MATT: At 30, Matt knows that living with his parents is not ideal. But the unpredictable nature of his job makes it hard to get his own place.
    Forced to return... Buckingham Palace.
    ANGELA: Angela is from Welwyn Garden City and has been forced to move back home with her parents after splitting with her partner.
    Hi Mummy I'm home... Claire.
    CLAIRE: Having recently graduated Claire, 22, from Luton has been forced to return to the family home and now is wondering what to do next.

    First time buyer

    First foot on the ladder Sold sign
    KAREN: Karen is in her mid 20s and lives in a two bedroom house in Milton Keynes. Buying the house was only possible with some financial help from her parents. Even now, a housemate is needed to help pay the mortgage.

    What lies beneath? Big bills...
    KATHERINE: Katherine has recently managed to move into her first flat, but only after getting a very expensive shock. While her quest to leave home has been fulfilled, the decline in her bank balance has been monumental.

    So near, yet so far... Bedford Suspension Bridge.
    JASON: Jason and his partner live in Bedford they are currently waiting to move into their first house. While the hassle of finding a suitable property is over, the wait to move in has only just begun.

    Shared ownership, at a premium...


    Mr G: Mr G and his partner are both graduates with average salaries but their attempts to buy shared ownership properties on the open market have been met with steep demands for 'premiums', leaving them both unsure what to do next?

    No premiums allowed!
    Lee: Lee, moved into shared ownership in Milton Keynes, but had to pay a premium to secure his house. However, when he came to sell his stake he discovered he was no longer allowed to charge a premium, leaving him out of pocket.



    The shared option? Concrete Cows.
    MISS MK: Miss MK and her partner were hoping to buy a property in Milton keynes but when prices proved to high they responded to a small advert in the paper, with amazing results.

    The rent trap To Let sign
    KATHERINE AND DARREN: Katherine and her fiance Darren wonder what they are doing wrong. They work hard and don't live extravagantly, but a house to call their own is still out of reach.


    What next?

    The next move? Flat
    KATY: Even though the value of Katy's flat has gone up around 200 per cent in 11 years, she's now found that if she wants to upgrade, she'll have to move away.
    Gone north! House
    SIMON AND CLARE: Five years ago, Simon and Clare took the plunge, and moved from a flat in St Albans to a four bedroom house just outside Houghton Regis. They've never looked back!
    Mortgage misery Mortgage sign
    JANE AND PAUL: Thousands of people who took out endowments to pay off their mortgages are finding that their policies are not performing anything like as well as they had hoped or were led to believe.

    Have you had problems getting on the property ladder?

    Have you just got on it? If so, how did you manage it?

    Do you want to upgrade but will have to move away from the area to do so?

    Tell us your experiences using the form below.

    Comment on this story

    Tracey, Aylesbury Tuesday, 28-Jun-2005 10:47:08 BST
    I'm totally confused by this whole shared ownership thing. My husband and I currently own (via mortgage of course) an ex local authority 3 bed house. We have 3 children, the situation is that we desperately need a 4 bed, currently my 8yr old son and 2 yrs old daughter share a room which isn't ideal, it isn't possible for my eldest daughter who's 17 to share with the younger girl purely cos of the age difference etc. We cannot get a mortgage for more than 122000 on our income and have about 50k equity on this house. Does anyone know if in my situation I could even get on a list for instance? There's no way we can even consider a 4bed outright purchase in our area as the cheapest one we've seen is 245000 - way beyone our price range. It's so confusing!!

    Tim, Stevenage Wednesday, 15-Jun-2005 01:30:35 BST
    i really don't understand all the hype about how difficult it is for "young people to get on the property ladder nowadays". What's wrong with you? It's ALWAYS been like this. Why do people think it SHOULD be easy? My great-grandparents (my father's paternal and maternal) NEVER could afford their own house. My grandparents couldn't afford to buy until they were in their forties, and i finally bought my first house eight years ago, at the age of 35. i.e. when i could afford it. The only time in recent history it's been easier to buy a home was in Thatcher's 80's, and we're still trying to correct the consequences of that little debacle. Britain is just about the only place where ownership has any cachet anyway. And the incessant background clamour from the press (including the BBC) just increases the imaginary pressure on people too short-sighted to think for themselves. If you're in your twenties and can't afford to buy then rent, like the rest of us had to. Nobody owes you anything, so stop whining.

    JULIE, MILTON KEYNES Wednesday, 03-Nov-2004 12:44:08 GMT
    I brought a shared owner ship property 10 years ago and managed through the big rise in mortgage interest rates but I now find myself needing a larger property but I'm stuck although my property is worth more it doesn't give me enough of a come back for a deposit to meet today's house prices and also find that my husband and I wouldn't even get offered a mortgage for more than 150 thousand. We don't have any children and live in a two bed bungalow so we wouldn't be able to go on the waiting list for another shared ownership for a larger property we could only apply for another two bed and we also wouldn't have any chance of getting any of these new affordable houses which are for key workers. I think it's so unfair for people like ourselves that only do ordinary jobs have no children yet have to struggle more than anyone as we get no help from the government at all. The only hope we have of moving is if the house prices drop enough for us to move on or I have a child and then maybe I would get considered for another shared ownership and get more money when I go back to work from the government as an insensitive for working mothers





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