Number of home owners moving house hits eight-year high

Credit: PA

The number of existing home owners moving house has reached its highest level since 2008.

There were 174,000 home movers in the first half of 2016, marking a nine percent increase compared with the same period a year earlier, according to calculations from Lloyds Bank.

Lloyds said this was the highest level for any January to June since 2008, when there were 179,800 home movers.

The research suggests that it has become easier for home owners to take their second step on the property ladder.

Lloyds said the affordability of "second stepper homes" has improved in recent years, as the rising value of starter homes has given home owners bigger deposits to use as a springboard for their next property.

Research showed that second steppers needed to find 6.5 times their earnings to move up the property ladder in June, marking an improvement from 2011 when they needed to find 7.3 times their earnings.

Figures also showed there were 12% more first-time buyers in the first half of this year than there were a year ago, meaning that some second steppers might have found it easier to sell their starter home, with more potential buyers in the market.

Credit: PA

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage product director added that stamp duty changes announced in 2014, which made the tax cheaper for many home movers, had also helped to support the market.

Not all parts of the UK have seen housing affordability improve for second steppers, with London and the South East seeing property prices rising steeply.

In London, someone trying to get onto the second rung of the property ladder needs to find around 10.9 times their earnings, up from 9.7 times their wages five years ago.

By contrast, a second stepper in Northern Ireland needs to find 4.9 times their wages, down from 6.2 in 2011.

Due to rising house prices, the research by Lloyds also found that mortgages are increasing in length as home movers seek to spread the costs.

Five years ago nine percent of home movers took out mortgages lasting 25 to 35 years, but this has now doubled.

In the past year alone, the average price paid for a home by a home mover has increased nine percent, or £24,056, to £285,606.

The average deposit put down by a home mover has increased by 32% over the past five years and now stands at £95,385.