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The number of people moving home more than doubled (132%) to 265,070 in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period last year, according to the latest Halifax Homemover Review.

There were an additional 151,040 transactions in the first six months of this year, in contrast to the same period in 2020, where 114,030 home moves took place.

In the 12 months to June 2021, 461,010 home moves took place, up by more than 50% on the previous 12 months. The total number of moves in the last year is almost 100,000 more than at any point in the last 10 years.

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This leap in property transactions comes after several years of flat or falling numbers and brought the annual total to the highest it’s been since 2007, when it hit 716,650.

First-time buyers also returned to the market in force during the first half of the year, with 210,900 transactions, an increase of 74% on the same six months last year. Those getting their first foot on the housing ladder accounted for nearly half (44%) of all sales in the period.

Across the UK there was a year-on-year doubling of the number of homemovers (132%). Every region in England and Wales saw transaction numbers double in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year, while Scotland saw an 86% increase.

The regions with the largest increases in home movers were the South East (169%) and London (165%). Northern Ireland has seen the greatest long-term increase, with a 182% rise over the last 10 years. In comparison, London has experienced a 64% rise over the same period.

A ‘race for space’, as workers adjust to a future where working from home more frequently, is reflected by changes in the mix of property type bought. Detached homes were the most popular for movers (30%), slightly ahead of semi-detached properties (28%).

The largest rise in detached home purchases over the last 10 years was in the West Midlands (14%), while its neighbour, the East Midlands, experienced a fall of almost 9% in semi-detached sales.

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The average price paid by homemovers rose 11% in the 12 months to September 2021, to £387,485. Wales (£276,849), East Midlands (£320,715) and Yorkshire and the Humber (£284,268) all saw prices rise by 16% over the year, whereas Greater London (£699,864) saw prices rise by just 5%, the lowest of any region.

Homemovers put down an average deposit of £134,227, equivalent to 35% of the purchase price. Average deposits were worth at least 30% of the property in all UK regions. Highest deposit levels are in the South West (38%), with the North having the lowest at 30%.

Andrew Asaam, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “The rate and scale of the growth of the homemover market is quite remarkable. After several years of flat transaction numbers then a marked fall at the start of the pandemic, we’re now at a level not seen since 2007.

“There are many factors that have driven this activity, perhaps the biggest of which is the ‘race for space’ amongst those planning to work from home in the long term. The timing of some these moves will also have been influenced by people wanting to benefit from the stamp duty holiday.

“It is important to recognize the boom in sales was not limited to movers. There were more first-time buyers in the first six months of this this year, than in the first half of any of the last 10 years.

“Those getting on to the housing ladder accounted for almost half of all mortgage-backed purchases, which is in line with the long-term average.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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