House price inflation stops a third of homeowners from moving

John Hewitt Jones

September 16, 2016

High house prices are stopping almost a third (31%) of property owners from moving house, research by comparethemarket.com has found.

The research, which surveyed over 2,500 UK homeowners, found that the majority of respondents plan to remain in their current properties and undertake improvements.

Responses to the survey indicate a significant shift since 2014, when the number of homeowners progressing to their second home reached a seven-year high.

House price inflation was cited as a central factor in the survey, with almost a third of respondents (31%) attributing recent house price inflation as the cause of their decision not to move.

Gemma Sonfield, head of home insurance at comparethemarket.com, said: “The huge growth in house prices since 2009, which has seen the average price go from just over £150,000 in June 2009 to nearly £214,000 in June 2016, makes it difficult for many people to make the move they’d ideally want and, for a lot of would-be movers, stamp duty is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

“With nearly four in 10 homeowners saying that they would undertake home improvements specifically to increase the value of their home, “improve before you move” is becoming an important tactic for climbing the housing ladder versus simply making a person’s living quarters a bit nicer.”

Stamp duty was also identified by respondents as a major hurdle: one in 10 view the high cost of stamp duty as preventing them from moving home and nearly a third (31%) admit they would be more likely to move house if there was a significant cut in stamp duty.

Many homeowners instead choose to use that money to add a new kitchen, bedroom or living room to their existing home, according to the study.

The study suggests a reduction in desire to move homes could result in a slowdown in housing demand over the coming months.

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