Belfast Telegraph

Number of homeowners moving house falls for first time in five years

The number of existing homeowners moving house fell last year, marking the first annual fall in five years, a report has found.

There were an estimated 354,000 home movers in 2016, down 4% compared with 2015 and the first time since 2011 that the annual total has fallen year-on-year, according to Lloyds Bank.

A lack of suitable properties for buyers to trade up to could be holding activity back, the report said. It also found that the average price paid by home movers for their new property reached a record high of £291,777 across the UK last year.

In London, a home mover can expect to pay a record £560,946 for their new property.

Home movers typically have a deposit of £96,698 to inject into their next property, equating to around a third (33%) of the typical £291,777 purchase price.

In London, the South East, the South West and East Anglia, home movers typically take more than £100,000 of equity into their next home.

Longer-term mortgages which last beyond the traditional 25 years have also gained favour with home movers over the past 10 years.

In 2006, less than one in five (17%) home mover mortgages lasted beyond 25 years. But by 2016, nearly two in five (39%) of such mortgages were for 25 to 35 years.

Overall, the number of home movers in 2016 was 12% higher than a low point in 2009, but still only around half the levels seen in 10 years earlier, in 2006, when there were 712,100 home movers.

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgages director, said: "Despite favourable economic conditions including record low mortgage rates, high employment levels and rising real pay growth, the number of home movers fell in 2016 for the first time in five years.

"Whilst higher prices will have lifted equity levels for many current owners, the low availability of the 'right type' of homes for those looking to move up the housing ladder may have constrained market activity. Of course, higher prices may explain why more home movers are opting for longer mortgage terms."

He continued: "The ability of home movers, particularly those in their first homes, to move on is an important component in the housing market as it increases the supply of properties, providing homes for new first-time buyers."

Lloyds Bank's report used a range of sources, including figures from its banking group's house price database, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Bank of England.

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