By Vivienne Shirley, Senior Consultant
Half of home movers move less than 10 miles, and we are moving half as often as we did 30 years ago, new research shows.
Analysis by home moving company AnyVan.com of over 18,000 home removal jobs showed 48% of moves are less than 10 miles from people’s current homes, with 27% less than 5 miles.
This is not too surprising as people make friends, find jobs and schools, and get to know their local areas, so moving further away and having to start again can be daunting. However, there are suggestions that the current political instability is impacting the housing market and making people even more cautious when it comes to moving.
Moving less often
Figures released last year by Zoopla revealed UK residents currently move home every 23 years on average – whereas back in the economic heyday of 1988, emboldened Brits moved home every 8.63 years. Along with political and economic uncertainty putting off sellers and buyers, Zoopla suggests the current muted market is also the result of tax changes and ongoing affordability issues, particularly for first time buyers.
Whilst Brexit certainly isn’t helping, research by Savills reports the steep decline in moving was triggered by the 2008 economic crash, with homeowners today moving half as often as they did pre-credit crunch. This is partly due to the stricter rules on getting mortgages that followed, while high prices and older people hanging on to big properties haven’t helped.
Clogging up the ladder
Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, noted that too much focus has been on first-time buyers, with clogs later down the property chain showing people aren’t trading up and then later downsizing.
“Those not trading up are the forgotten people of the housing market,” he said. “We’ve concentrated on first-time buyers. They get the concessions and all the focus has been on getting people onto the housing ladder.”
This means that even once people manage to get on the first rung of the property ladder, as tough as that is, there is someone blocking them on the rung above. Making it easier for elderly people to downsize would be a good first step to get the ladder moving, freeing up big homes to let families trade up.
Developers may want to focus more on bungalows and age-friendly housing, while also keeping an eye on the fact that their new buyers might be just down the road. If they fail do so, even if the housing market picks up, it could be a while before people are bouncing from home to home as ebulliently as they were back in the era of big hair and Gordon Gekko.
Register for our upcoming seminar on the ‘Impact of an Ageing Population on Housing Provision’ here.
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