Sharp drop in number of people moving homes as cost of living crisis spirals

There has been a significant fall in the number of people moving home as the cost-of-living surges, according to Halifax.

Figures released by the lender of the weekend revealed that 172,510 people moved home in the first half of 2022, compared to 266,270 in the same time period last year – a decline of 35%.

Home movers now make up 47% of all house purchasers, falling 9% on the 56% recorded in 2021.

The cost of living is skyrocketing across the board, with council tax, national insurance, mobile, broadband and water bills increasing amid a backdrop of soaring inflation.

Mortgage rates and rents have also shot up, compounding the crisis.

The scrapping of the stamp duty holiday has also contributed to the fact that the number of people moving homes has dropped by a third.

The number of home movers in last year was heavily influenced by the UK government’s tax incentive, leading to a 133% increase in home movers between 2020 and 2021.

“While numbers have dropped this year compared to the record highs of 2021, home moves are still above pre-pandemic levels overall,” a spokesperson for Halifax said.

Greater London saw the greatest fall in people moving home – into or around the capital, down 45%, compared to 2021.

Just 13,765 people moved to the Greater London area during the period. The South East saw a similar proportionate drop, with a 43% drop.

Scotland saw a far smaller fall in movers, of 13%, the lowest of any country or region in the UK. More than 15,000 people made a home move in Scotland, higher than Greater London.

According to Halifax, the average house price paid by home movers is now £403,163, up 5% on last year, and 42% over the last five years.

The data also shows that people buying a home now need a 33% deposit on average, meaning Britons purchasing property now have to put £134,108 towards their move onto the next rung of the ladder. In 2017, this figure was £98,219.

Andrew Asaam, homes director at Halifax, said: “The number of home movers so far this year is lower than the record high set last year: this was not unexpected, and the housing market has remained buoyant in 2022 so far.

“The number of people moving home in the in the first six months of the year was above pre-pandemic levels and is, other than 2021, the busiest start to the year for home moves since 2008.

“Last year was a year like no other — the stamp duty holiday drove an incredible amount of demand, leading to an 133% increase in movers on 2020.

“So, it was always likely we were going to see a fall compared to that record high, but when we look at numbers overall — movers are very much still moving.”

Also reflecting on Halifax’s Home Mover review 2022, Tom Bill, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said: “A combination of frustrated demand due to low supply and a sense of urgency to act before mortgage rates rise further is driving activity higher in the UK housing market.

“The shelves are not emptying as quickly as they were during the stamp duty holiday and supply is normalising, which means the current pipeline of sales in many areas is bigger than it was while the tax break was in place.

“As mortgage rates rise and supply continues to rebuild, downwards pressure will increase on prices later this year, a trend that would be magnified in the unlikely event of a general election.”



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