Fewer home owners are moving house in the UK with a new analysis showing that moves fell by 10% between 2016 and 2017.
Brexit uncertainty at a time when home owners have become increasingly reluctant to take on new debt are behind the trend, according to the research from reallymoving which analysed data from the English Housing Survey alongside its own figures on home moves.
The data shows that moves fell from to 476,000 in the 12 months to March 2016, the year of the European Union referendum, to 430,000 in the year to March 2017, a reduction of 46,000.
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 home owners staying in their homes for an average of 27.3 years, compared to 24.3 years in 2013/14, an increase of 13%.
The report says that 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 55% of home moves in 2017, despite constituting just 20% of UK households.
However, 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. The firm’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.
‘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,’ said Rob Houghton, reallymoving chief executive officer.
‘Our research shows that home owners 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 12 months,’ he pointed out.
‘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,’ he explained.
‘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 four, suggests that when in control of their destiny, people choose to move less frequently,’ he added.