Number of people moving house in Scotland falls to lowest level in five years

The number of people moving house in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level in five years, with a shortage of available properties and spiralling deposit costs to blame, according to a review.

A shortage of available properties and spiralling deposit costs have been blamed for the fall in the number of Scots moving house. Picture: TSPL
A shortage of available properties and spiralling deposit costs have been blamed for the fall in the number of Scots moving house. Picture: TSPL

Only 14,682 existing homeowners moved house in the first half of this year, a 2 per cent drop on the previous 12 months, and a low not seen since the first half of 2014, the Bank of Scotland Homemover Review found.

The average deposit put down by homeowners moving to a different property in Scotland has jumped by 21 per cent over the same period from £58,285 to £70,332.

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It means the deposit now accounts for nearly a third (32 per cent) of the average property’s purchase price.

The bank said other factors behind the turgid rate in sales included the prospect of interest rate rises and levies such as the land and buildings transaction tax.

Despite the arrest in the rate of homeowners moving house, the average purchase they pay has grown by 17 per cent from £188,852 in 2014 to £221,515 in 2019.

Over the past decade, it is up 24 per cent, from £179,348 in 2009. However, the current average price is still well below the UK-wide equivalent, which has jumped by 32 per cent in five years and stands at £329,648.

The Scottish price increase, both over the past five and ten years, is also the lowest of any area of the UK.

Graham Blair, mortgages director at Bank of Scotland, said: “The slow rate of home movers is a reflection of increased deposits, higher stamp duty charges, as well as potential interest rate rises.

“There is also low availability of the perfect next home, such as an extra bedroom and outdoor space for those looking to move up the housing ladder, which all together are having an impact on the overall number of people moving house.

“Despite a dip in the number of people moving in 2019, house prices have still increased and may also be contributing to the slowdown.”

The review, published today, also revealed the average age of a homeowner moving property in Scotland is 41 – two years younger than the equivalent figure in 2009 – but a year older than the existing UK average.

Nearly three out of ten (29 per cent) home movers plump for a detached property, with 21 per cent moving to a semi-detached house.

Flats (19 per cent), terraced houses (18 per cent) and bungalows (13 per cent) accounted for the rest of the sales.

London remains the most expensive region, with the average price almost twice the UK average at £650,510.

The least expensive area is Northern Ireland, where the average price of a home is £189,905.

Unsurprisingly, those looking to move house in the heated property market in London are required to pay the largest average deposit of £213,907 towards the purchase of their next home.

As is the case with house prices, the lowest deposits (£56,763) are found in Northern Ireland.