Halifax reveals why less people are moving house this year

The drop in the number of home-movers is not surprising, it says

Halifax reveals why less people are moving house this year

The latest research by Halifax has revealed a drop of over a third in the number of home-movers in the first half of 2022, compared to the same period last year.

In the first six months of this year, 172,510 people moved house, down 35% from 266,270 in the first half of 2021.

“This was not unexpected,” Andrew Asaam, homes director at Halifax, said. He pointed out that despite the lower figures this year, the housing market has remained buoyant.

Halifax explained that the number of home-movers last year was heavily influenced by the UK government’s Stamp Duty holiday, which supported the housing market during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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, Halifax said home moves are still above pre-pandemic levels overall.

“The number of people moving home 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,” Asaam said.

“Last year was a year like no other – the Stamp Duty holiday drove an incredible amount of demand, leading to a 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.”

Home-movers now make up 47% of all house purchasers, falling nine percentage points on 2021.

The Halifax Home-mover Review also found the number of home-movers fell in all UK regions in the year’s first six months. Greater London saw the greatest fall in people moving into or around the capital, with a drop of 45% compared to 2021. Just 13,765 people made a move in the Greater London area in the first half of this year.

However, Asaam said that when looking at the five-year trend, a different story emerges, with the number of home-movers in the London area remaining relatively flat.

The South East saw a similar proportionate drop, with a fall of 43%, while Scotland saw a much smaller fall in movers with 13%, the lowest of any country or region in the UK. Over 15,000 people made a home move in Scotland – higher than Greater London.

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

When looking at the five-year trend, Wales and Northern Ireland have experienced the greatest increases in house prices for home-movers, both up 48%. They are followed by the North West, East Midlands, and West Midlands, all up 45%. Scotland has seen the smallest change since 2017 at a still relatively high 30%.

The Halifax report also showed that in all UK countries and regions, home-movers are now bringing equity at 30% or more of the purchase price. At the UK level, these deposits are now 33% for all home-movers, while for first-time buyers, this figure is 20%. It means those buying a home now have £134,108 to put towards their move on to the next rung of the ladder. In 2017, this figure was £98,219.

The largest deposits are to be found in London at £248,379, followed by the South East at £181,228.

The North has the smallest average deposit of £73,346.

Detached and semi-detached homes are the most popular type of home for people to move to, now with a 29% and 28% share, respectively. Over the past 10 years, detached homes have increased in popularity, with an increase of seven percentage points from 22% in 2012 to 29% this year.

Home-movers are also getting slightly younger, now at an average age of 40, compared to 41 in 2012. The oldest average home-movers are in Wales at 42 years.

The Halifax Home-mover Review, which tracks conditions for those who already own a home, is based on data from the Halifax housing statistics database, as well as from UK Finance.