February 17, 2023

Selling

House moving trends in Hemel Hempstead

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House moving trends in Hemel Hempstead

How often do people move home in Hemel Hempstead and surrounding areas? Well, it’s a lot less than the 1980’s! Yet, new research shows there is now a two-speed Hemel Hempstead property market, with the younger generation moving only after a few years, and the older generation in Hemel Hempstead staying in their homes for decades.

In this article, I discuss the implications behind this and how both Hemel Hempstead homebuyers and house sellers can adopt and adapt to this.

50% of Hemel Hempstead house sellers in 2022 had only been in their old home on average 6 years and 41 weeks.

The share of Brits moving each year has been declining since the late 1980s (at one stage in the 1980s people moved every eight years) yet since the pandemic’s beginning, something has appeared to upset that trend.

Newspaper stories and social media posts painted a picture of homeowners moving from the city centres to its suburbs, from the suburbs to the towns and countryside around the UK. Areas like the Cotswolds and coastal towns around the country got swamped by the ‘race for space’, significantly affecting housing markets, including Hemel Hempstead and our surrounding areas.

How many people move in the Great Britain?

But how many Brits moved? And how long had they been in their homes before they moved? In Great Britain, there are 28.3 million households, of which 19.3 million are owner-occupied and 4.43m owned by private buy-to-let landlords. There is £7,035 trillion of residential property in private hands.

Eight years before the initial lockdown in 2020, an average of 79,646 properties were sold each month in the UK, meaning just under a million UK households move home annually. Therefore, in those 8 years, the average British homeowner moved every 20 years and 4 months.

What uplift was there in people moving home after the first lockdown in 2020?

In 2021 and early 2022, an average of 102,021 people moved home monthly, taking the average move time to once every 16 years. So even though there was an uplift in people moving home, it was nothing like the 1980s. It shows that in the 21st Century, once you have succeeded in buying a property you can call home, there isn’t much enthusiasm to move again.

What is happening in the Hemel Hempstead property market now?

We love our homes in Hemel Hempstead, but most of you (including myself) still want to ‘better our lives’ with a larger house, better area etc., which typically requires us to climb up the Hemel Hempstead property ladder.

Yet, with Hemel Hempstead house prices having risen by 418.1% in the last 25 years, the cost of going up the next rung on the Hemel Hempstead property ladder has become prohibitive.

Everyone remembers back to the 1980s, when we had an upbeat booming property market as a backdrop, and British homeowners moved home every eight years; so now, with the average move time in the mid to late teens (in years), this equates to each homeowner only moving around three to four times in their adult lifetime.

Or could it be something else?

We all know the phrase, “lies, damn lies and statistics”. The home moving statistics above hide some great details about the British property market. When British homeowners get into their 50s, 60s and beyond, their inclination to move home drops like the proverbial stone.

The average time a homeowner without a mortgage moves home is 24 years and 27 weeks, and just over 7 out of 10 outright homeowners, i.e. without a mortgage, are 65 or older.

Trends for homeowners with a mortgage

This group tend to be younger to middle-aged. Homeowners with a mortgage move on average every 10 years and 11 weeks. So, whilst I cannot determine which house seller has a mortgage and which doesn’t, I can look at how quickly people move home in Hemel Hempstead. Therefore, I have taken a look at the last 50 property sales in Hemel Hempstead and found some interesting results.

The average Hemel Hempstead homeowner had only been in their home on average 15 years and 13 weeks before they sold. Yet the devil is in the detail. There appears to be a two-speed Hemel Hempstead property market …

Couple on the sofa in their home in the UK; how often to people move home in Hemel Hempstead?

50% of Hemel Hempstead house sellers in 2022 had only been in their old home on average 6 years and 41 weeks.

Then, let’s split the findings into quarters.

  • Top 25% fastest Hemel Hempstead homeowners in 2022 moved on average after 2 years & 47 weeks
  • The following 25% of fastest Hemel Hempstead homeowners in 2022 moved on average after 10 years & 20 weeks
  • The next 25% of Hemel Hempstead homeowners in 2022 moved on average after 20 years & 8 weeks
  • Whilst the 25% slowest Hemel Hempstead homeowners in 2022 moved on average after 27 years & 0 weeks

When looking at the properties that fall into the slower time bands (i.e. the ones that don’t move/sell so often), they tend to be the larger properties where the homeowners have lived often for 30 or 40 years.

Maybe, the one lesson from these statistics is that once homeowners get into their 60’s and 70’s, their tendency and inclination to move home declines significantly.

This means the homes on the lower rungs of the Hemel Hempstead property ladder are selling quickly (as younger aged homeowners occupy them) … yet once Hemel Hempstead people tend to get older, their tendency to move diminishes.

This obstructs the younger generation of Hemel Hempstead homeowners from wanting to buy the bigger Hemel Hempstead properties these mature Hemel Hempstead homeowners live in.

What is holding the older generation back from selling and downsizing to free up family homes for families that desperately need them? Some will be apathy, and some will be wanting to hold on to the homes they brought their families up in, yet the bottom line is …

As a country, we must reconsider how we can encourage (not force) older homeowners to sell their large homes to release them to the younger families that desperately need them.

 

Middle-aged woman in her home smiling with a cup of tea

Some recent articles I have written suggested tax breaks, yet the government doesn’t have the money to give massive tax breaks. One thing I do know we, as a country, have seen (and will continue to see) a lot of demographic change together with an increasingly ageing population, so it’s not just about how many households we build but whether we are constructing the right kind of homes for the older generation? Thought-provoking times are ahead for the Hemel Hempstead property market!

If you have a Hemel Hempstead property to sell in the coming months or years and want to know how this and other factors will affect you and your property, don’t hesitate to contact the teams at one of Castles four branches in Boxmoor, Berkhamsted, Eaton Bray and Kings Langley.

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