One in five people who have joined the property ladder recently regret not buying somewhere cheaper.
New research shows first-time buyers have been badly hit by rising bills for heating while wages have not gone up. They underestimated the costs of owning a home, the Government's Money Advice Service has found.
It warns people upgrading homes or just getting on to the property ladder not to take on too much.
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The body found three-quarters (74%) of people who bought their first home in the past two years said they had to stretch themselves financially to afford it. Some 19% of the recent first-time buyers surveyed said they wished they had bought somewhere cheaper. Nearly two-fifths (38%) lie awake at night worrying about their finances.
More than half (55%) of recent first-time buyers also found the additional expenses associated with buying a home on top of their mortgage payments had been more than they expected.
Many said they had misjudged the impact of solicitors' charges and removal costs or stamp duty.