It has often been said that buying a home is as stressful as divorce and marginally less stressful than suffering a bereavement.
Now a new study has tried to quantify what that stress does to home buyers and concluded that the property purchasing process ages people by two years.
The research , commissioned by the online conveyancers In-Deed and conducted by PCP Market Research in July 2011 on a sample of 200 people who had bought or sold a property within the preceding three months, found that 68% of them reported an acceleration in the symptoms of ageing.
The interviewees told psychologists that they suffered from symptoms such as '…hair loss (10 per cent), short-term memory failure (14 per cent) and diminished sex drive (19 per cent), with the process ageing stressed people by 25 months over the typical 15-week house-buying period'.
Some reported sleeplessness and in some cases even physical illnesses.
Those that said they suffered the most stress during the home buying process said that they had felt aged by up to nearly 4 years (47 months).
The stress of house buying had also caused disputes between 41% of couples. This is on par with arguments over housework (47%) and money (58%).
Psychologist Dr Glenn Wilson, the study leader, said 'Periods of prolonged stress and anxiety – such as when buying or selling a home – can seriously take their toll on our wellbeing, with depression, weight loss and even premature ageing a likely outcome'.
The main causes of the stress included getting that mortgage approval (38%), inefficient and inept lawyers (31%) and 11% feeling that the whole legal process took too long.