Millions put off moving home in UK because of Brexit, poll shows

The UK has begun the official process of leaving the European Union but Brexit has already affected the decision of over a million people not to move home this year, new research suggests.

Overall 7.5 million adults in the UK have been put off moving home and 15%, just over a million, say it is because of Brexit, but prices and mortgage applications have much more of an influence, according to a survey commissioned by the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance.

The YouGov poll found that while Brexit is one reason for not moving some 26% put it down to rising prices, 25% increased living costs, 25% difficulties getting a mortgage and 9% stamp duty costs.

People in the North East and Northern Ireland were the most likely to have cancelled plans to move with 27% and 21% doing so, the poll also found, while people in Yorkshire and Humber and Wales are less likely to move.

A breakdown of the survey figures show that among current home owners 8% say that within the past 12 months they have become more likely to buy or move home and 15% have become less likely to do so while it is 14% and 17% among first time buyers.

Of those who are more likely to move 28% say it is because they need more space, 15% want to downsize while 16% say it is the ability to get a mortgage and 14% because they have found a suitable house.

‘Both first time buyers and those who already own a home are choosing to play it safe in these uncertain times,’ said Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance. She added that with the official Brexit negotiations now underway there is likely to be further uncertainty in the market until the UK’s future relationship with Europe is more clearly defined.

‘People putting off plans to buy or sell chokes housing supply and generates pent up demand. The housing market needs certainty in order to be able to function most efficiently. The Government could help to ameliorate the situation, by looking again at stamp duty. It remains stubbornly high and acts as a drag on the market. Reducing the burden for genuine owner occupiers could really help to keep the market moving in these uncertain times,’ she pointed out.

According to Kim Vernau, chief executive officer of BLP Insurance, buyers need clarity. ‘Purchasing a new home is one of the biggest decisions that an individual is ever likely to undertake, and this is only compounded by the fact that average house prices are continuing on their upward trajectory. It’s therefore not surprising that many people are putting their housing ambitions on hold amidst the prevailing uncertainty,’ Vernau added.