Number of people moving home in UK falls in first half of 2015

The number of home movers in the UK in the first six months of 2015 was 9% lower than in the same period in 2014, new research has found.

Despite this decline, the number of movers in the first half of 2015 was 32% higher than in the same period in 2009 at the depth of the housing market recession, according to the latest Lloyds Bank home movers review.

It explains that the rise in house prices over the past few years has boosted home owners’ equity in their current homes making it easier for them to fund a deposit towards the purchase of their next property.

Notwithstanding the improvement since 2009, the number of home movers in the first half of this year was less than half the total in the first six months of 2007 when it was 327,600.

The research also shows that the percentage decline in the number of home movers between the first halves of 2014 and 2015 was closely in line with the 10% fall in first time buyers. First time buyer numbers have, however, risen significantly more quickly than home movers over the last few years. As a result, home movers have declined as a proportion of all new mortgage financed home purchasers from 72% in 2004 to 54% in 2015.

‘There was a modest decline in the number of home movers in the first half of the year compared with 2014, which was in line with the general softening in housing market activity,’ said Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgages director.

‘Whilst the number of home movers has risen significantly since 2009, it remains well below previous levels and has recovered less strongly than first time buyer numbers. This is likely to partly reflect the high costs associated with moving home, as well as highlighting the difficulties that homeowners can face in finding somewhere suitable to move to due to the shortage of properties available for sale,’ he added.

The figures show that the average price paid by a home mover has grown by 25% over the past five years from £208,654 in 2010 to £261,524 in 2015, an increase of £52,869, equivalent to a monthly rise of £881. Home mover property prices have increased by 6%over the past year.

The average deposit put down by a home mover in 2015 was £87,954, some 8% higher than in 2014 or £81,549. This equates to 34% of the average price paid by home movers of £261,524.

Regionally, home movers in London put down the largest average deposit at £175,273 or 36% of the average property value of £492,882. This is more than four times the average deposit put down by home movers in Northern Ireland where it was £43,625 and the lowest.

Nationally, the recent changes to the Stamp Duty system have saved the average home mover £4,769, reducing the tax bill for someone buying the average priced home mover property of £261,524 from £7,845 to £3,076.

Savings for the average home mover in London, however, are considerably smaller than this with a reduction in the Stamp Duty bill for the average home mover property in the capital at £492,882 of only £142 from £14,786 to £14,644.
The proportion of home movers paying Stamp Duty nationally stands at 83% in 2015 compared with 76% in 2005 but varies regionally from 100% in London to 66% in the North.

A higher proportions of home owners in southern England pay Stamp Duty at the higher marginal rates with 89% of home movers in the capital and 61% in the South East paying more than £250,000 for their property.

The average age of a home mover is 39 years old, down from 41 in 2005. The report suggests that this fall may be due to a reduction in the number of total home moves being made over a lifetime with fewer people over 40 now moving.

Nationally, home mover purchases are fairly evenly split between three main property types with semi-detached at 30%, detached at 27% and terraced homes at 25%. This is in stark contrast to first time buyers who buy far fewer detached properties at only 8% and a lot more flats at 23% against 10% for home movers.

The home mover market in London is very different to anywhere else in the UK with a far higher proportion buying flats at 32% against the national average of 10%, and a much smaller proportion of detached homes at 8% against 27% nationally.