Date Published 07 March 2012
The downturn in the housing market has left the UK a nation of frustrated house-movers, a think-tank has said.
The large majority of people who want to move have been unable to. Furthermore, most people want to move not because of location but because of changes in their personal circumstances, such as splitting up or moving in with someone.
According to Understanding Society, a study of 40,000 households funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, between 2009 and 2010 only 10-14% cent of people who wished to move actually did so.
The study also found that living in an urban setting or in a less deprived area increased the likelihood of being able to move, while living in rural or more deprived areas reduced the likelihood.
The findings are based on a sample of 16,000 individuals who were asked about their desire to move home, and their expectations of moving in the next year and why they wished to move.
They show that 39% of individuals living in urban areas wish to move, compared to 28% in rural areas. In the most affluent areas, 29% of people expressed a desire to move, compared with nearly half (45%) of those living in the most deprived areas who want to move.
The main reason given for moving home by those who managed to do so was either needing bigger, smaller or better accommodation. Family-related reasons such as divorce or moving in together also ranked highly and were mentioned by 25% of respondents.
Location motives, such as wanting to move to a better neighbourhood, came further down the list with mentions from just 12%.
All told, 27% of previously single people moved in with their partners and 9% of movers separated from a partner. A further 17% of movers who were previously renting bought a house.
While 31% of movers from rural areas moved into urban areas, only 11% of movers went from urban areas to rural ones.
Dr Birgitta Rabe, of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, who analysed the data, said: `In recent years there has been a stark contrast between individuals wanting and expecting to move and their actual moving behaviour.
`This has wider economic implications for people’s flexibility in a challenging job market, because it is home owners, either with a mortgage or those that own their home outright, who find it most difficult to achieve their moving desires.`