Homeowners struggle to move and many are opting to improve instead

Michael Lloyd

December 11, 2017

One in four (24%) homeowners plan to move within the next five years and almost 10% are preparing to take their next step on the property ladder next year but face a number of barriers, research from Lloyds Bank suggests.

Andrew Mason, mortgage products director, Lloyds Bank, said: “The combination of the increased cost of moving and a lack of fresh stock coming to the market appears to be making it harder to move and we have seen more homeowners staying put and looking to add value to their homes instead.”

A fifth (22%) of homeowners said that the cost of moving is the main obstacle stopping them buying their next home.

Some 20% said the inability to find the right property within budget is the main reason, 19% said stamp duty costs and 17% blamed increasing house prices.

A third said that they would need a significant pay rise to help make the jump with over half (57%) of 25 to 34 year-olds saying they need an income boost to do so.

Mason added: “Whilst this isn’t great news for the housing market where sales have remained flat or fallen over the past few months, encouragingly some homeowners are still motivated and want to move.

“We may start to see more movement early next year with the stamp duty move helping to increase demand.”

Aside from financial factors, the whole house moving process is also causing more people to hang on to their properties instead of selling. Two fifths (43%) of homeowners across the UK said that the process of finding a suitable home discouraged them from looking to move.

Some 62% of homeowners felt that moving house has become more difficult over the past 10 years.

Fewer people are moving home and the homemover market is slowing. So far this year there were around 367,000 homemovers, which is one per cent less than that last year and just under half (48%) compared to 705,900 a decade earlier in 2007.

In terms of motivation for homewoners to move, 26% said the main reason is to relocate to a better area and 25% said to buy a bigger property. For families, 22% said being close to good schools is the key reason, and those aged 44% of over 55 year-olds said downsizing is the main motivator.

However, many people are opting to stay put and renovate rather than move. Of the 40% of homeowners said they are not looking to move and three in five said that they’ll make improvements to their home instead.

And 71% of homeowners said that they were not concerned by the Bank of England base rate increase announced in November while eight in 10 said that the interest rate rise has had no effect on their desire to move home.

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