Far fewer people moving home in the UK than 30 years ago
The number of people who are moving home in the UK has dropped considerably in the last 30 years, as buying activity changes and an increasing number of people choose to privately rent property rather than buy outright.
It means, according to researchers Neil Hudson and Brian Green, there is an annual house mover shortfall totalling as much as 320,000, with the gap being attributed to 'missing movers'. The largest contributors to this falling number of movers are the fact that more people now choose to rent, and the rising age of mortgage holders, which means less of a desire to move home among those who already own.
Over the past few decades, there has been a real fall in homeownership in general in the UK. The market saw peak owner-occupier levels hit in the mid to late 80s, when more than three-quarters of people in the UK were owners. However, rising house prices and changing attitudes, which have led to more people seeing renting as a better long-term option, means this has fallen markedly to a little over 60 per cent in the last couple of years.
According to the researchers, around 140,000 of the so-called 'missing movers' can be attributed to people who own a property at the moment and decide not to move up the ladder, mainly because they are older. This means that the majority of the missing transactions could be down to renting becoming a more prominent concept.
This shows the real power of the private rented sector, and how it has become a force for change in the last few years in the property market, with people choosing it over buying for some time.
However, the report stated that among those who do have a mortgage and choose not to move, it's important to promote the need for mobility in the market, so that it continues to tick over.
"The challenges of the future must be tackled on the basis of the context in which we find ourselves today. That is one of low interest rates, relatively low inflation, high and rising house prices relative to the incomes of prospective home owners, and an ageing population," the report says.
"From our analysis, this combination is unlikely to unlock broad based equity building or provide much scope for more relaxed lending. Perhaps fresh, novel policies will emerge that facilitate more moving in the current much changed economic environment."
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