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Brits move home every 23 years

13th September 2017

  • Average Brit now moves home every 23 years compared to a peak frequency of every nine years in 1988
  • Homes in Midlothian, Scotland change hands every 15 years*
  • Outside of London, Powys, Wales residents stay in their property the longest – moving every 33 years
  • Tower Hamlets is home to the most frequent movers in the capital (every 16 years), whilst those in Kensington and Chelsea stay put for 38 years
  • Zoopla launches new Move Planner tool to simplify the process for buyers and renters
  • The average person in Britain moves home every 22.7 years, according to the latest figures from property website Zoopla.

    Zoopla worked with Hometrack to calculate the average time between house moves by analysing total private dwelling stock levels and the number of total property sales transactions over the last year**. On a regional level, the data reveals that Scotland is home to the most frequent movers in Britain, where the average person changes property every 19.6 years. South West England is close behind with an average of 20.6 years, followed by the East of England where residents move every 20.9 years. Movers in Wales stay put the longest, taking an average of 26.8 years to move between properties.

    On a local level***, Midlothian, Scotland, has been crowned home to Britain’s most frequent-movers. Properties in the historic Scottish county switch hands every 14.9 years – five years faster than the regional average. The London commuter belt area of Dartford in South East England comes second, with the average person changing properties every 16.5 years. The Scottish capital of Edinburgh places third, with its residents moving every 16.6 years.

    At the other end of the spectrum, residents of Powys, Wales dwell the longest in their respective properties, moving every 33.1 years. The university city of Oxford is home to the second least frequent movers, with Oxfordians staying in their homes for an average of 31.6 years.

    Within the capital, Tower Hamlets tops the list of London boroughs with the highest property turnover rate, with the average property changing ownership every 15.9 years. Greenwich has the second quickest rate at 19.7 years, and Southwark checks in third (21.1 years). Moves occur least often in the notoriously expensive royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea, with the average resident only moving every 38.1 years.

    The research has also revealed the history of Britain’s housing stock turnover rates. In the wake of the most recent financial crash, moves were least frequent (every 25.89 years on average) in 2009, whereas property transaction rates peaked during the Lawson Boom of the late 1980s with Britons moving home every 8.63 years in 1988.

    This news coincides with the launch of Zoopla’s new Move Planner tool, an interactive checklist designed to help simplify the notoriously stressful process of moving home. The new Move section of the Zoopla website is also packed with tips, advice and guidance for movers, and offers timely reminders for key tasks and transactions - from contract exchanges, insurance, and arranging the broadband.

    Lawrence Hall, spokesperson for Zoopla comments: “It’s interesting to see where in Britain property is changing hands more frequently, with home movement in an area typically indicating a liquid property market. Regions with a shorter time between house moves could offer better affordability than those areas where properties change hands less regularly. In Kettering, for example, the average property is currently valued at £223,041 - £84k (37.73 per cent) less than the UK average. Equally, in cases such as Dartford, which features highly on our frequent movers list and has recently seen the completion of a £90 million development, a surge in new-build availability and local investment could be a contributing factor.

    “In contrast, regions where properties change hands less often can suggest a lower level of demand, or less housing stock – particularly in rural areas. Oxford is a slight exception to this rule as slow property turnover in this famous city is most likely a result of both a scarcity of available properties and also a lack of affordability in the local property market.”

    *Historical turnover rate figures taken from HMRC transactions data

    **Zoopla worked with Hometrack to calculate the average time between house moves by dividing the total private dwelling stock levels (ONS data) by the number of total property sales in 2016 (Land Registry data) and expressing the outcome as a percentage

    ***Local authority level data

    Regional ranking of years between moves

    Rank Region Average property value Turnover in years between moves
    1 Scotland £184,800 19.6
    2 South West £295,148 20.6
    3 East of England £356,745 20.9
    4 East Midlands £209,647 21.3
    5 South East £407,895 21.4
    6 West Midlands £219,257 23.8
    7 North West £190,726 24.2
    8 Yorkshire and The Humber £173,461 24.2
    9 North East £188,996 26.0
    10 London £677,524 26.5
    11 Wales £181,856 26.8

    Top 10 local authority areas for turnover rate in years (excluding London)

    Rank Local Authority Area Average property value Turnover in years between moves
    1 Midlothian £205,195 14.9
    2 Dartford £334,963 16.5
    3 Edinburgh (City) £280,874 16.6
    4 Kettering £223,041 16.8
    5 Glasgow (City) £179,256 16.8
    6 East Northamptonshire £248,293 17.0
    7 Renfrewshire £154,679 17.3
    8 Taunton Deane £267,238 17.3
    9 Corby £173,109 17.4
    10 Aylesbury Vale £415,237 17.4

    Bottom 10 local authority areas for turnover rate in years (excluding London)

    Rank Local Authority Area Average property value Turnover in years between moves
    1 Powys £205,830 33.1
    2 Oxford £502,606 31.6
    3 Gwynedd £188,537 31.2
    4 Blackpool £124,176 31.1
    5 Pembrokeshire £194,772 31.0
    6 Kingston upon Hull, City of £135,649 30.8
    7 Wrexham £179,698 30.0
    8 Blackburn with Darwen £131,670 29.7
    9 Isle of Anglesey £187,122 29.7
    10 Denbighshire £167,041 29.5

    Top 10 London Boroughs for turnover rate in years

    Rank London Borough Average property value Turnover in years between moves
    1 Tower Hamlets £565,139 15.9
    2 Greenwich £456,659 19.7
    3 Southwark £649,758 21.1
    4 Wandsworth £804,289 21.1
    5 Lewisham £484,939 21.8
    6 Sutton £451,148 22.1
    7 Bromley £535,225 23.1
    8 Lambeth £688,230 23.2
    9 Havering £399,314 23.4
    10 Barking and Dagenham £295,553 24.9

    Bottom 10 London Boroughs for turnover rate in years

    Rank London Borough Average property value Turnover in years between moves
    1 Kensington and Chelsea £2,231,803 38.1
    2 Harrow £553,385 36.8
    3 Ealing £612,757 35.7
    4 Haringey £669,407 35.2
    5 Westminster £1,409,193 34.9
    6 Enfield £478,541 34.9
    7 Camden £1,127,073 32.6
    8 Brent £534,651 32.3
    9 Redbridge £465,735 32.0
    10 Newham £385,152 31.7
    Sources: Office for National Statistics: Total private dwelling stock level figures, Land Registry: Total number of property sales in 2016, HMRC property transactions data (1959 to 2016).

    - Ends -

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