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Homeowners thwarted in desire to move: research

The UK is a nation of frustrated, unfulfilled home movers with economic conditions hindering their “moving desires”, an independent study has claimed.

By Samantha Downes | Published Mar 15, 2012 | comments

The Economic and Social Research Council came to the conclusion in its latest research paper, Understanding Society, which surveyed 40,000 UK households.

The ESRC said between 2009 and 2010 only 14 per cent of those people who wished to move actually achieved that aim.

The findings were based on a sample of 16,000 individuals who were asked about expectations of moving in the next year and why they wished to move.

According to the study, where people lived determined whether they wanted to, or were likely to, move. Some 39 per cent of individuals living in urban areas wished to move, compared to only 28 per cent in rural areas.

In the most affluent areas, 29 per cent of people expressed a desire to move, compared to nearly half of those living in the most deprived areas.

The main reason given for moving home by those that managed to do so was either needing bigger, smaller or better accommodation.

Circumstantial-related reasons such as divorce or couples moving in together were mentioned by 25 per cent of those who took part in the survey.

Twenty-seven per cent of previously single people moved in with their partners and 9 per cent of movers separated from a partner.

Seventeen per cent of movers who were previously renting bought a house, 33 per cent of social renters moved into other tenure types such as private renting, and 10 per cent of individuals moved into social renting.

Birgitta Rabe, research fellow for the Institute for Social & Economic Research at the University of Essex, said: “These results indicate that the UK is a nation of frustrated home movers.

“In recent years there has been a stark contrast between individuals wanting and expecting to move and their actual moving behaviour.

“This has wider economic implications for people’s flexibility in a challenging job market because it is homeowners, either with a mortgage or those that own their home outright, who find it most difficult to achieve their moving desires.”

Philip Milton, managing director of Devon-based Philip J Milton & Company, said: “It could mean we’ll be a less-stressed nation in that home moving is one of the biggest stress points. This trend might point to happier lives, fewer broken relationships and more contentment with one’s lot.

“We could also save all the costs and commissions of moving and build a small extension instead.”

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