Large number of owners in UK get emotionally attached to their home, new research shows

Home owners in the UK get very attached to their houses with 43% saying they experience grief, a sense of loss or sadness when they move, new research has found.

Some 83% admit that they are emotionally attached to their home and 62% feel dread or nervousness at the thought of selling while just 23% are excited about moving.

It is memories of their time in a home that affects most people, according to the research from conveyancing services firm My Home Move, while the location and the garden are also very important and can create feelings of sadness when moving.

A combination of these feelings are more keenly felt by older home owners, particularly those aged 45 and over while those aged between 18 and 34 were the most excited or happy at the thought of selling their property, averaging 30%.

Doug Crawford, the firm’s chief executive officer, believes that this emotional attachment could be behind many older home owners being reluctant to downsize and move into a smaller homes.

‘These buildings represent much more than bricks and mortar, they are the places where memories are made and as such hold enormous emotional value. Through our findings we know that the thought of selling these homes for a significant percentage of home owners, especially among those who are in the downsize age category, bring a sense of dread and as such, it is not surprising that they would rather stay put than face the emotional upheaval they envisage,’ he said.

When asked what they value most about their current home, some 34% said memories, 21.5% said the location and 13% said the garden. Actual features of the building or specific rooms within the home ranked the lowest.

‘Having investing years in their current property, financially and emotionally, it is understandable that home movers and downsizers are not prepared to settle for the wrong kind of home, something which is evident from the attachment they feel. As such, this represents an opportunity for the industry to realise this issue and develop new, person centred, approaches to help people move,’ Crawford pointed out.

A breakdown of the survey results show that home owners in Scotland and the South East are the most reluctant to sell their property, with both areas showing above national average percentages regarding nervousness or dread at 69.3% and 63.5% respectively.

In comparison, home owners in Wales are the most excited to sell their homes, within 23% expressing this sentiment, closely followed by those in London, the North West, Northern Ireland and the East Midlands, which all rated over 20%.

A separate My Home Move survey of UK estate agents found that 75% feel there is not enough housing stock available to buy and 80% agreed that not enough people are downsizing to free up family homes.

However the issue of ‘property attachment’ divided the respondents, with 39% believing it can affect home owners, while 46% disagreed.

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