Home moves by homeowners drop by 10% in a year

23rd July 2018
Home moves by homeowners drop by 10% in a year

The UK’s homeowners are staying put, with the number of home moves within the owner-occupier sector plummeting by 10% between 2016 and 2017, according to new analysis by home move website reallymoving.com, as Brexit uncertainty bites and homeowners become increasingly reluctant to take on new debt.

Reallymoving.com has analysed the English Housing Survey alongside its own data on home moves to reveal that the number of moves by owner-occupiers fell from 476,000 in the year to March 2016, the year of the EU Referendum, to 430,000 in the year to March 2017, a reduction of 46,000. This has resulted in a loss to the UK economy in the region of £430 million, based reallymoving.com’s data on the cost of moving, in addition to estimated £125 million lost to the Treasury in Stamp Duty revenue.

Growing reluctance to take on new mortgage borrowing and face the cost of moving house, which is currently at a record high of £7,356 including stamp duty, is resulting in homeowners staying in their homes for an average of 27.3 years, compared to 24.3 years in 2013/14, an increase of 13%. 

In contrast, the average tenure for a private rental tenant is just 4 years. Despite the fact that private tenants face the same economic concerns and personal financial pressures, the lack of security in the private rented sector means tenants experience far greater uncertainty and instability. Private renters accounted for a remarkable 55% of home moves in 2017, despite constituting just 20% of UK households.

While the number of home moves by owner-occupiers has fallen, there has been a 22% rise in new owner-occupier households during the last year. reallymoving.com’s data shows that first time buyer activity has increased considerably, accounting for 54% of all conveyancing quotes on the site in 2017 compared to 43% the previous year, suggesting that Government support such as Help to Buy is successfully boosting first time home ownership despite wider economic conditions.

For those who aren’t fortunate enough to be in a position to buy their own home, the data suggests that young people are opting to stay at home for longer, rather than face high costs and the prospect of regular home moves in the private rented sector.  The number of new private rented households has dropped by 39% since 2010, which is most likely due to children living at home for longer and so-called ‘boomerang kids’ returning home after higher education. Supporting this theory, the number of residents per household has increased from 3.65 in 2010 to 3.87 in 2017.

Rob Houghton, CEO of reallymoving.com said: “The life events that normally prompt home moves, such as growing families, new jobs and separation or divorce, are continuing as normal, yet home moves by owner-occupiers have dropped considerably over the last year. Our research shows that homeowners were moving increasingly frequently up to 2015, but this trend is now clearly in reverse, which I expect to continue. Government policy to actively encourage first time buyers and deter buy to let investors has plugged the gap somewhat, with a 22% surge in new owner-occupier households over the last twelve months.

“Meanwhile, the private rental sector remains highly fluid. Many families are unable to buy and with little chance of securing social housing, they are at the mercy of short-term rental contracts with very little protection or security. While some tenants will benefit from and enjoy the flexibility of the private rented sector, the vast difference in tenures between owner-occupiers and private renters, 27.3 years compared to just 4, suggests that when in control of their destiny, people choose to move less frequently.”

Back