Market hardly moving as home owners stay put for almost 20 years, while not long ago they moved every 7.4 years

The rate that home owners move has more than halved over the past 30 years, new data reveals.

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) has warned that high transaction costs and a lack of supply means home owners now move every 19.2 years compared with every 7.4 years in 1988.

Lending data from IMLA’s Mortgage Market Tracker for the first quarter of 2018 found that 74 out of every 100 mortgage applications completed into a property purchase in the first three months of this year, down from 77 at the end of 2017.

The figure had been rising annually in previous years, at 64 in the first quarter of 2016 and 72 in the first quarter of 2017.

In contrast, first-time buyers – which IMLA said have been supported by the Bank of Mum and Dad as well as Government schemes – saw a record number of successful applications through intermediaries.

IMLA said that 76 out of every 100 applications completed in the first quarter of 2018, up from 74 at the end of last year and up from the 48 recorded when the tracker first began in the first quarter of 2016.

Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA, said: “As well as competitively priced and widely-available deals, many first-time buyers owe their success to initiatives such as the Help to Buy scheme, Lifetime ISAs and Stamp Duty relief.

“However, this continued focus on first-time buyers has come at the expense of the rest of the market, which is becoming increasingly illiquid.

“The Government’s commitment to improving access to the housing ladder has gone some way to increasing our supply of new and affordable homes.

“However, while a significant number of aspiring home owners have benefited from these initiatives, many home movers, or ‘steppers’, continue to struggle with hurdles including high house prices relative to earnings, stricter mortgage affordability criteria and a lack of suitable homes.

“Recognition and support from both policy makers and lenders is needed for this group, to improve housing turnover and transaction volumes in the wider market.

“The Government should take this pivotal juncture as an opportunity to reassess where in the market injections of new homes are needed, working with developers, planners and lenders to ensure the whole market is well served.”


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  1. Shaun77

    Has nobody worked out yet that by using incentives such as help to buy, and putting FTB’s into new build flats, it deprives a chain of the all important first link.

    Without the FTB coming in at the bottom, the other 4 or 5 links are unable to go anywhere, thus the market seizes up and transactions fall.

    Another example of people writing policy who have no grasp of unintended consequence.

  2. PeeBee

    Mr Shoffman.

    “…home owners stay put for almost 20 years, while not long ago they moved every 7.4 years”

    Not long ago?  You’re citing THIRTY YEAR OLD statistics!

    There is FAR MORE RECENT evidence of how often people are taking between moves.  Something you should already know – if you want to know ANYTHING about the property industry, check out what your esteemed Editor has already published… in this particular instance, a mere THREE YEARS AGO:

    And to put a positive spin on your article – because someone has to… it seems that in the long three years since Frau Renshaw covered the subject, moving intervals have shortened by the best part of two years.

    So – I guess there’s a smidgen of hope for us after all…


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