Date Published 19 July 2012
Despite common perceptions that children typically leave home to spread their wings to new and exciting destinations, research by Nationwide Building Society suggests almost half of homeowners in the UK, simply move down the road.
In today's modern global community, where people commonly travel abroad for holidays or retirement, communicate easily with friends and family abroad, have access to news and information from around the world at the touch of a button, it's surprising to discover that almost half (44%) of home owners live no further than 10 miles from where they grew up.
Yet interestingly, two thirds say they would consider moving away. So, is it the case that half of all UK homeowners are staying put, simply because they are too comfortable to move, or is it that people are making a conscious choice to put friends and family first and believe that the home really is where the heart is?
For many, what prevents a move away is a desire to stay close to their family (51%) and friends (46%). Interestingly, only 18% cited confidence in local schools as a reason to stay – with those in the North most likely to be swayed by this (28%). In fact, it's not uncommon for children to go to the same school that their parents attended and in some cases, taught by the same teacher.
Revealingly, comfort and familiarity with surroundings was respondents' most mentioned reason for staying put (52%), with emphasis on this increasing in the South to 66%. Yet the vast majority of those questioned (62%) said they would consider leaving – suggesting that for at least half of UK home owners, emotional considerations such as the unfamiliarity of new surroundings or leaving friends and family are more important when choosing where to live than practical considerations such as saving money or developing a career.
For the 56% who have moved away, more emphasis was placed on logical and practical considerations. The top motivator was moving to take up a job (34%), with more women than men citing work as a reason for moving (43%). Fewer moved to be with their partner (21%) although more women than men moved for love (23%). Parents moving to access better schools accounted for just 3%, although interestingly the greatest concentration of these (13%) were in Scotland.
While those from Wales and the Midlands were most likely to still live in their childhood homeland, those from Northern Ireland and the South were the most likely to have spread their wings to a different region. The research also highlighted those from higher social grades (ABC1) were more likely to move away from their roots (61%), possibly to follow education or career opportunities, or because of affordability issues, particularly as 67% were based in the South.
So, did a move make people happier? Nationwide's research showed that of those brave enough to have made the leap, four out of five were relatively or very happy with their decision, with those moving to Scotland giving their move the highest happiness rating at 47%. Perhaps most revealing though is that 79% of those that moved away say they have no intention of ever moving back, while 63% of those that stayed close to home say they would consider moving away.
Tracie Pearce, Nationwide's head of mortgages, comments: `Our research suggests that it's often more emotional issues that keep us tied to our familiar surroundings and affect our decisions about moving home. It shows that for some, home really is where the heart is. However, home is also wherever you decide to make it. Of course where we choose to live is a very personal choice. However, for those who are moving, whether near or far, Nationwide offers support right through the home-moving process, from interactive guides for research, information on house prices across the UK, through to competitive products and services, we're on your side, offering practical help to all those looking to move home.