Number of house movers falls by a third in 2022, but prices are still climbing says Halifax

The number of home movers fell by more than a third in the first half of this year, but the total remains above pre-pandemic levels.

There was a 133 per cent increase in home movers during the tax break, according to Halifax, so it was likely the number would fall this year. 

However, the number of home movers is still up compared to pre-pandemic levels and apart from last year, is the busiest start to the year for home movers since 2008.

House prices for home movers continue to climb, increasing 5% in the last year and 42% over the past five years

The stamp duty holiday lasted from July 2020 to September 2021. 

Home movers now make up just under half (47 per cent) of all home purchasers, with the rest accounted for by first-time buyers and landlords.

Last year saw an exceptionally high number of movers due to the Government’s stamp duty holiday which was put in place to support the housing market during the covid pandemic.

Regionally, Greater London saw the biggest drop in movers with the total falling 45 per cent compared to the first half of 2021. 

Just 13,765 people made a move in the Greater London area in the first half of this year, according to Halifax. 

In contrast Scotland saw a much smaller fall in movers, just 13 per cent which was the lowest of any region in the UK. 

Andrew Asaam, homes director at Halifax, said: ‘The number of home movers so far this year is lower than the record high set last year: this was not unexpected, and the housing market has remained buoyant in 2022 so far.

‘When looking at the five-year trend, a different story emerges, with the number of home movers in the London area remaining relatively flat. 

‘With the cost of the average home for movers in London now at £733,628, it is perhaps unsurprising the market in London is self-correcting, with many likely priced out of moving in and around the capital without additional support.’

Chris Sykes, technical director at mortgage broker Private Finance said that while the figures are strong the slowdown was still worrying.

‘A second step is a large one for many. Going from your typical first time buyer small house to a larger family home these days seems impossible for some with the costs involved,’ he added.

‘For example, someone may have bought a £350,000, two-bed flat as their first purchase a few years ago, paying a 10 per cent deposit, £2,500 stamp duty with the first-time buyer discount, and a few thousand pounds in legal and other fees.

‘Now, they want to buy a £500,000, three-bed terraced property to start a family. The stamp duty alone for this move would cost £15,000, selling fees on their current home would be a few thousand, and solicitors’ costs for a sale and purchase a few thousand.

‘They may find they need a bigger than 10 per cent deposit depending on their incomes for this next purchase, too. That is a lot of money to find for many.

‘This could cause a real issue in the long term creating a lack of first time buyer property stock.’

While the number of house movers has dropped over the year, the average house price for home movers risen 5 per cent to £403,163. Over five years the average price has seen a sharp jump of 42 per cent.

In cash terms, it means those buying a home now have £134,108 on average to put towards their move onto the next rung of the ladder. In 2017, this figure was £98,219.

At the UK level, the typical deposit is now 33 per cent for all home movers, compared to 20 per cent for first time buyers.

Commenting on the figures, David Hollingworth from L&C said: ‘The growing requirement for a bigger deposit underlines the fact that buyers are contending with higher prices and are putting down larger sums as a down payment. 

‘Some of that may be possible as a result of a higher selling price for their previous home, but ever higher prices will naturally put pressure on affordability.

The number of home movers in Greater London fell 45% compared to last year, the biggest fall of anywhere in the country.

The number of home movers in Greater London fell 45% compared to last year, the biggest fall of anywhere in the country. 

‘At the same time, cost of living increases will have been starting to bite this year and home buyers will also have felt higher rates feeding through into the market. 

‘Home movers will likely want to fix their rate to protect against further rate rises especially as other costs such as energy are also volatile currently. They have the choice of short to very long term fixes depending on how much stability they want to build in.

Fixing for ten years or more is possible, but borrowers just need to consider any applicable lock in period and whether that could affect flexibility later.’

Taking a regional look across the UK, Scotland has seen the lowest change to house price growth since 2017, at 30 per cent. 

Movers in London have to put down the largest deposits for their new home, with the average for the capital coming in at £248,379.

The type of home movers are choosing has also changed. Detached and semi-detached homes are the most popular type of home for people to move to, with a 29 per cent and 28 per cent share of the home mover market respectively. 

Over the past decade, detached homes have increased in popularity, experiencing a seven percentage point increase.

Best mortgage rates and how to find them

Mortgage rates have risen substantially as the Bank of England’s base rate has climbed rapidly.

If you are looking to buy your first home, move or remortgage, it’s important to get good independent mortgage advice from a broker who can help you find the best deal. 

To help our readers find the best mortgage, This is Money has partnered with independent fee-free broker L&C.

Our mortgage calculator powered by L&C can let you filter deals to see which ones suit your home’s value and level of deposit.

You can also compare different mortgage fixed rate lengths, from two-year fixes, to five-year fixes and ten-year fixes, with monthly and total costs shown.

Use the tool at the link below to compare the best deals, factoring in both fees and rates. You can also start an application online in your own time and save it as you go along.

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