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Are UK homeowners still wanting to move?

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New Open Property Group research looks into where UK homeowners are moving to, and if there is a pattern between homeowners moving out of the city and into the countryside.

Out of 1.25 million homeowners surveyed:

  • 357,244 stated that they ‘want to move’
  • 251,705 stated that they ‘are moving soon’
  • 242,711 stated that they ‘are settling in’
  • 206,694 stated that they ‘just moved’
  • 187,001 stated that they ‘are moving now’

The question is: Are homeowners still moving to the countryside since the surge in remote working and the ever-growing desire for more green space?

When surveyed, 39% of homeowners specified that wildlife and nature were “more important than ever” to their well-being, and 45% of adults are spending more time outside than they did pre-pandemic.

Despite this, recent data shows that people moving to sparse or remote villages actually dropped by 28%. Adding to this, from 2017 to 2023, the number of homeowners looking to move to remote or sparse settlements actually decreased by 13%

Open Property Group, which helps homeowners sell their property fast, whether it’s to relocate, downsize or to get rid of a problem property has seen a significant market shift over the last 1-2 years. 

“The UK’s property market is undergoi4ng another reset,” says Jason. “There is a definite shift in home moving activity, with the West of the country surging in popularity. Historically, better value for money has been found outside of London, the South East and the big five cities, and I think that’s what is driving home movers towards Wales and the West coast.”

“The desire for affordability in a cost of living crisis is being compounded by the current relationship between inflation, the Bank of England base rate and mortgage rates. The rates attached to new home loans, remortgages and additional finance are seriously squeezing buyers’ budgets but there is still a strong desire to move – people are just having to moderate where they look and what they buy.”

“Semi-rural and rural locations will continue to be cheaper places to buy than urban and inner city areas. This will be especially so in the coming months as more people return to offices for work and potentially relocate to reduce commuting times – aspects that will cause metropolitan house prices to rebound . While the statistics show the trend for rural living has actually declined over the last six years – we may see a surge as purchasers pursue well priced properties. We’ll also see borrowers taking out mortgages over 30 years – or even enquire about interest-only mortgages – to negate the effects of higher repayment rates.”

“Of course, there will be a large contingent of homeowners who are biding their time before they move – the 357,244 who have indicated they ‘want to move’. This group will be waiting for mortgage rates to fall and house prices to drop before they progress their plans. In the meantime, they may choose to improve their properties – enhancing their living environment for the present and adding value at the same time. It’s not unimaginable that these delayed movers will fuel a property peak in late 2024/early 2025.”

Open Property Group Managing Director, Jason Harris-Cohen

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