Home-moving market officially clogged

10th February 2011

Just 9% of all UK households moved into their current home within the previous 12 months during 2008 and 2009 – the lowest number since records began back in 1994. This is according to the latest chapter of Social Trends, published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The report also found that, between 2007 and 2008, the number of property sales over £40,000 in the UK fell by a staggering 44% from 1.6 million to 900,000 as a result of the recession. The slump was most prevalent in Northern Ireland where sales fell by 61% during this period, after being one of the areas that also saw the greatest price rises during the property boom.

March 2002 was the busiest month for mortgage approvals in the last 12 years, peaking at 92,912, according to British Bankers' Association (BBA) figures highlighted in the report. By contrast, the number of loans approvals in November 2008, at the depths of the financial crisis, had fallen to just 17,421. In July 2007, the month before the credit freeze began, loan approvals sat at a steady 62,363.

Repossession numbers were highest in the previous recession however. In 1991, a staggering 75,500 homes were forced to hand back keys to their mortgage lender.  Since 2004, repossessions have increased nearly six-fold but only to reach 47,900 in 2009, said the report. Social Trends editor at the ONS, Jen Beaumont said this was, in part, due to lower interest rates and unemployment this time round.

Separate research included in the report from Flash Eurobarometer, found that 57% of UK adults last year felt that there was no risk at all of falling behind with either rent or mortgage payments, while 37% felt that there was either a low or moderate risk. Just 6% felt that the risk was high.

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