The average homeowner in the UK now moves every 20.2 years.
That average in the 1970’s and 80’s was around every 10 or 11 years; in the 1990’s it increased to the mid-teens (in years) and in the early part of the Millennium, it dropped back again to the low teens. When we had the Credit Crunch years of 2008/09/10, that shot up to every 25.3 years and has been steadily decreasing ever since to the 2018 figure of 18.7 years.
The graph shows that, as the economy improved after the Credit Crunch, British homeowners started to move home more and may have be taking advantage of higher demand and lower supply in the housing market to sell their homes and move on to the next property. Yet, as most Ashford (and British) vendors are usually a buyer as well, that cannot be the real cause. As mentioned already, people in the 70’s and 80’s moved a lot more than today.
So why is the long-term average length of time between moves since 2000 still much higher than it was in the preceding 30 years? For existing homeowners, some people have said their lack of appetite to move home compared to the 1970’s and 1980’s might come down to their mortgages and the need for higher equity to put down on the next house. In general, the number of years you stay in a home determines how much you will pay back on the mortgage you took out when buying it – If you stay longer, you have the prospect to pay back a larger portion of the money you borrowed.
Instead, I think the issue is a lot deeper than that. Firstly, I believe there has been a long-term change in attitude to moving home and this lack of movers (compared to the last 30 years of the 20th Century) is part of a slowdown in the country in social mobility. Interestingly, a million fewer people moved in the noughties (2000 to 2010) than in the 1970’s, after other changes in population have been taken into consideration. You see back in the 1970’s and 80’s, it was expected that people kept moving up the ‘property ladder’ to bigger and better homes (keeping up with the Jones’).
Secondly, there has been a change in attitude to homeownership per se: over the last 15 years, 20 to 30 somethings (Generation Rent) have been weaning themselves off the ‘homeownership drug’ that the baby boomers were so addicted to in the 1970’s and 80’s … meaning there are less buyers at the bottom of the housing ladder to fuel the fire. That is an important factor on the long-term decrease in home moving as buy to let landlords have been tending to buy the smaller starter homes to house Generation Rent … yet landlords don’t tend to move up the housing ladder after a few years like a first time buyer – landlords just buy another property.
So, what is happening in Ashford with regard to people moving home?
I have mentioned a number of times in my articles about the Ashford property market that the number of people who move home (i.e. the number of property transactions) is a more important bellwether to the health of the local property market.
Therefore, I compared the number of people moving home in Ashford to the regional stats of home movers and the country as a whole. I also decided to look at a long-term point of view to judge the Ashford housing market, because as can be seen on the first graph, there is often short-term volatility. Looking at the stats…
Since 1995, Ashford people have moved home 40.79% more often than the national average
Looking at this second graph, 110.8% of the Ashford (TN23 to be precise) privately owned housing stock has been sold since 1995 – interesting when compared to the national figure of 78.7%. Why? Well I am sure this might be the topic of an up and coming further article on the Ashford Property Market Blog.