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Over half of British homeowners are living in homes that fail to meet their needs

3rd June 2021

  • The average homeowner needs an extra £125,000 for a home truly suitable for them

  • Brits stay in homes for 4.4 years after realising they are no longer right for them

  • A quarter say the need for a post-lockdown home workspace means their home is unsuitable

  • Emotional ties stop many from moving, with people staying in unsuitable homes for diverse reason such as loving their local coffee shop, pub, or because a pet’s buried in the garden 


Embargoed until 3 June 2021: More than half of UK homeowners (51%) say they are currently stuck in a home that is not suitable for their needs. These homeowners estimate they would require a further £125,000 on top of the value of their current home in order to buy a property that was truly suitable, according to a new study of 2,400 people from Zoopla

The search for space continues

The need for more space is the key reason homes are not suitable, highlighted by 40% of homeowners who said this applied to them. Meanwhile a quarter (25%) pointed to the fact that they are stuck in an area in which they don’t want to live. Changes in what we need from a home post-lockdown appear to be another important factor, with nearly a quarter (23%) saying a lack of a dedicated space to work from home is an issue. 

Amongst those who say they are currently in a home that is not suitable for them, 39% highlighted the inability to find somewhere right for them within budget as the main factor stopping them from making a move. A quarter said the cost of moving presented a barrier (26%). 

Moves delayed for years

These factors mean UK homeowners are having to stay in their home for an average of 4.4 years after realising it is no longer suited to them or their family’s needs. This is the amount of time, on average, between homeowners deciding their home is no longer right for them and actually getting into their new property. 

Emotional Ties

For some, other, more intangible, reasons are preventing them from making the move. Twenty seven per cent of homeowners in the survey said that they have an emotional attachment to their home, whilst 55% of parents said that their children have an attachment to it.

Amongst those who say they have an emotional attachment to their home preventing them from moving, 13% of parents say it is because it would upset their children too much and 36% say they couldn’t bear to move on from the home in which they had brought up their children. 

Meanwhile, 21% say they like their neighbours too much to move and 8% even say they could not move because they have pets buried in the garden. Furthermore, many highlighted that their love of their local area is preventing them from moving. Amongst these a over a quarter (26%) said they loved their local pubs too much, whilst 21% said they liked their local coffee shop too much to move on.

When asked what finally prompted them to move, a quarter (25%) pointed to an increased income that allowed them to move to somewhere more suitable, whilst one in five (19%) say having children made moving vital. 

Tom Parker, Consumer Spokesperson at Zoopla, comments: “We were blown away to see just how many Brits are living in homes that they don’t feel are right for the needs of themselves and their family. Whilst many highlighted practical reasons such as not being able to afford to move, emotional attachments played a strong role too. 

“Whilst it’s understandable that many find it hard to move on from a home that contains a lot of memories or that their children were brought up in, it’s perhaps more surprising that many find it hard to move on because they like the local coffee shop, pub, or because a pet is buried in the garden. 

“For those who think they can’t afford to move, or that the right home isn’t out there, I would encourage them to get the value of their home checked. Our data shows that around half of UK homeowners undervalue their home by an average of £46,000 – so many may be in for a nice surprise and find that they do indeed have enough equity in their home to consider a move to somewhere more suitable for their needs.”

Homeowners keen to check up on their property's value should head to Zoopla's My Home, where they can see an estimated value range for their property and check for potential hidden equity. For those keen to progress with a sale, they can contact an estate agent using My Home to get an expert market valuation.

- Ends -

For further information, please contact PR Team on [email protected] or +44 (0)20 3873 8770.

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But we know you're looking for more than that.

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It'll be the feeling of starting out on your own.

That extra bedroom won't just mean another £20K on the re-sale price, it'll mean having your sister over to stay.

And that bungalow won't just be a way to release some equity, it will be a chance to spend more time with the grandkids.

We know that searching for a home is about more than just checking its price, location and features (important as all those things are).

What really matters is how it makes you feel.

We know what a home is really worth.

So let us help you find yours.

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