Homeowners Moving Just Once Every 21 Years On Average

Homeowners moving house every 21 years
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Research by property website Zoopla shows that the average homeowner moves just once every 21 years.

The property portal reached this conclusion after analysing Land Registry and Registers of Scotland figures to find average property turnover levels, excluding new builds.

This is in stark contrast to the 1980s, where a booming property market meant homeowners moved on average every eight years.

Least likely to move

The frequency of moving varies greatly regionally. In London, homeowners spend the longest time in their properties. In Kensington and Chelsea, the figure stands at 35.5 years, fifteen years more than the average. This is followed by Brent at 35.4 years and Enfield at 32.3 years.

Oxford is the only place outside of London to appear in the top ten, sitting in seventh place with an average duration of stay of 31.2 years.

Most likely to move

Geographically, there is a much greater spread when it comes to the frequency of moving home.

Homeowners in Dartford and South Derbyshire are most likely to change address, with the average turnover between moves of just 15 years each. These are followed by Salford at 15.2 years and East Lothian at 15.6.

Regional differences

Looking across the regions of the UK, it can be seen that the most likely to move are those living in the East Midlands, with an average of 17.9 years. Scotland comes second at 18.7 years, and the South West third with 19.5 years.

Again, London homeowners move with the least frequency, at 26.2 years, ahead of the South East at 25.4 years and Wales at 22.2 years.

Why are people less likely to move in London?

The answer is that high property values and substantial moving costs associated with living in London are a deterrent to frequent moving.

The average cost of moving in the UK is a little over £10,000, an increase of £500 annually but, in London, fees may be as much as £28,000, and that is without taking stamp duty into consideration.

Zoopla’s comments

Laura Howard, spokesperson for Zoopla, said: ‘House prices have risen exponentially in the last two decades and many people are unwilling or unable to take on the cost of the ‘next rung up’.

‘The cost of moving itself is also a likely factor, especially in the most expensive pockets of the country.

‘Average property values in Kensington and Chelsea for example, now stand at more than £2 million according to Zoopla data, meaning the stamp duty bill alone would cost £153,750.

‘So it’s perhaps unsurprising that the London borough has the lowest turnover between moves of 35.5 years.

‘On the other hand however, there will always be scenarios where moving home is either essential or a dream that has to be realised.’

Advice for estate agents

Such infrequent moves are bad news for estate agents. But Howard had words of advice for them: ‘For agents the often-lengthy spells between homeowners moving underlines the importance of building a strong and enduring reputation in the community – for example, having excellent knowledge of the local property market and being reliable and transparent.

‘A solid local reputation coupled with consistent and relevant communication will put agents at front of mind when homeowners eventually do make that life-changing decision to sell up and move on.

‘Forward-looking agents will also ensure they provide current renters – often prospective first-time buyers – with an excellent customer experience, including offering information and guidance, with a view to securing their custom and loyalty further down the line,’ adds Howard.


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