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Significant increase in renters looking to buy

Friday 16 November 2018

The proportion of British adults who say they want to make the move from renting to buying has doubled during the course of 2018, from 24 per cent to 58 per cent.

The findings, from AA Financial Services, have come at a time when the Government is emphasising its commitment to helping more people get on the property ladder and increase housing supply.

October’s Budget confirmed this, when Chancellor Philip Hammond extended relief to first time buyers’ of shared ownership homes, as well as announcing a cash injection of £500 million to support the Housing Infrastructure Fund's ambition of building a further 650,000 homes.

And it didn't stop there, the Government's Help to Buy equity scheme, which has proved divisive since first being introduced in 2013, was also extended for a further two years, until April 2023.

The AA’s latest homebuyer research indicates that whilst the proportion of Brits planning to move house has remained largely unchanged (at around 12 per cent) over 12 months, the percentage of movers that want to switch from renting to buying their next home has rocketed.

In addition, the amount of money people plan to spend on their next home has gone up this month, hitting a 12 month high of £332,000 - that represents a nine per cent rise over the last six months and the first significant quarter-on-quarter increase since January 2018.

The research suggests that this rise has been driven by movers in London and the South East, with planned house spend in the capital rising from £410,840 to £544,957 since the beginning of 2018. Meanwhile in the South East, expected spend has increased from £396,571 to £406,478. This is a stark contrast to figures from the North East, which saw planned spending fall from £319,490 to £263,264 over a 12 month period, suggesting a widening of the north-south divide.

The study also looked at where people want to move to in 2019. London and the South East emerged as two of the most popular, but were also the regions where the fewest people want to stay. Just 48 per cent of London movers wanted to remain in the capital, while only 61 per cent of movers in the South East plan to stay local.

The South West came out on top as the most popular place to put down roots, and once there, people were less likely to leave. Overall, some 84 per cent stated that when moving house they planned to do so within the region, the highest number in the UK.

But for the North East and East Anglia it was doom and gloom, as these were the two regions the fewest people wanted to move to, with the popularity of the east coast, in fact, halving over the last 12 months – down from 10 per cent to just five.

“The economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit has not seriously dampened people’s plans to move home,” David Searle, the AA’s director of financial services, said.

“The simple reason is that, for most people, decisions on when to move are dictated by job change, being closer to family or the needs of children. Unlike many studies that look back at historic data on property transactions, our study looks forward and focuses on the demand for property. Movers are preparing to spend more on buying a home – and it doesn’t end there.”

He added: “With our research suggesting home improvement projects are also on the up, it looks like homeowners are set to borrow £12 billion to do up their homes up in the countdown to Christmas.”