Fewer Britons moving homes as stamp duty boom fizzles

All UK regions saw the number of people moving homes fall in the first half of 2022. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty
All UK regions saw the number of people moving homes fall in the first half of 2022. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty (Nathan Stirk via Getty Images)

The number of people moving homes in the UK fell by a third in the first six months of the year as the cost of living surges, according to Halifax.

Figures from the lender, published Saturday, show 172,510 people moved house 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 nine percentage points on 2021 (56%).

The number of home movers in last year was heavily influenced by the UK government’s stamp duty holiday, which supported the housing market during the 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, home moves are still above pre-pandemic levels overall," a spokesperson for Halifax said.

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All UK regions saw the number of home movers fall in the first half of 2022.

Greater London saw the greatest dip in movers 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 fall of 43%.

Scotland saw a much 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.

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, meaning Britons buying a home now have £134,108 to put towards their move onto the next rung of the ladder. In 2017, this figure was £98,219.

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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."

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