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Brits are on the move - but where are they going?

Tuesday 06 March 2018

One in eight Brits are looking to move house in the next 12 months but according to AA Mortgages, they won't be buying in the East Midlands.

The latest research from the AA found that Britain is on the move, with almost a quarter of the population (24 per cent) planning to move house in the next two years.

Of those surveyed, 46 per cent planned to to buy their next home, compared to 42 per cent who were looking to rent - although 24 per cent of those currently renting said their next move will involve them buying a property.

The research found that the South East is the region would-be buyers most want to move to, with the East Midlands found to be the region people plan to leave - whilst people in Scotland and the North West are most likely to be planning a move within their region.

Despite concerns of an economic slowdown and consumer caution in the face of Brexit, the new AA data suggests everyday life for most British households continues as normal, with domestic factors such as marriage, having children and changing job being the drivers behind people’s decisions to move house.

Regional hot spots

The research explored the ‘moving heat map’ of the UK – analysing the regions that people are leaving and moving to, giving an early indication on where there could be the greatest and least demand for housing in the years ahead.

Property demand intensified in the South East, coming out on top as the region people are most likely to be moving to (14 per cent). This was closely followed by the South West (12 per cent) and the North West (12 per cent). The region that people are least likely to move to however, was the North East with just two per cent of the vote.

The North West and Scotland appear to be the places to put down roots. Buyers in the North West (74 per cent) and Scotland (71 per cent) said they were most likely to move house within the region - which is good news in terms of house prices and employers looking to retain a skilled workforce.

Apparently the residents of the East Midlands have a mass exodus planned, with 52 per cent of movers planning to leave the area on their next move. And it doesn't get any better for the East Midlands as it was also one of the regions few people want to move to (six per cent).

For people imminently moving in the next three months, London (15 per cent) and the North West (14 per cent) emerged the most popular destinations. London proved less popular for people at the early stages of thinking about a move (eight per cent for those thinking of a moving in the next 12-24 months), and also has a outflow of people wanting to leave for a better quality of life in the country (nine per cent).

Planned spending

House price data presents factual information on what houses have sold for in the fast. The AA researchers asked people planning a house move what the budget was they were able or prepared to spend on their next home. Across the UK, the average budget for movers was £322,829 – which ranged from £410,840 for those from London to the lowest - £201,269 for people from Scotland. The budget for renters planning to buy was £286,000 compared to £367,000 for homeowners that were looking to move. The research also found that people on lower incomes were more likely to be over-extending themselves for their next home purchase.

Relationship status also was a significant factor. The AA research exposed the relative difficultly experienced by single parent families in securing a sizeable budget for a next home (£287,939). In contrast, when people moved from being a co-habiting couple to getting married, they would spend an average of £60,000 more on their next home (from £291,247 to £351,653).

David Searle, Director of AA Financial Services commented: “For many years, commentary on the property market has been dominated by supply dynamics, where and when houses are coming on the market and how much houses are selling for. Whilst perfectly valid, we have been keen to better understand the demand factors, to see things through the eyes of those planning to move house and to understand more fully their reasons for moving, the extent to which they are fulfilling new ambitions with a move and their own sense of financial mastery over the decisions they are making. It is the people - not the bricks - that make a house a home, and the first findings from our new tracking study suggest as long as people are getting married, changing jobs, having babies - and wanting more for their family - then people will always be moving house.”