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05 Jul, 2017/ by Homeward Legal /Sale & Purchase

The UK property market has never seemed to face a shortage of buyers. Demand most certainly outstrips supply across much of the country. But could the reason for that increased demand, that shortage of available property, be so-called "missing movers"?

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has identified around 320,000 mortgaged home owners who have surprisingly not moved up the housing ladder. Its research showed that the decline in house sales - from 1.6 million before the 2008 recession to around 1.2 million in 2016 - is partly down to these missing movers.

Their research team identified mortgaged owners as among those less inclined to move, often because of their age but also because of the lack of enough equity in their properties to fund a move up the housing ladder.

The CML suggests that around missing movers make up about 320,000 of the shortfall in annual housing transactions with around 140,000 of those still owing on a mortgage.

Researchers Neal Hudson and Brian Green were commissioned by the CML to examine this particular issue, and they identified the factors that encourage people to move as the desire to move, sufficient funds and the availability of the type of house they want to buy. The biggest issue stopping missing movers selling their homes and moving on is funds, or more specifically not having enough equity in their current property to finance a move.

The conclusion of the researchers is that the past performance of the housing market cannot be expected to be replicated in the future - for example, the extraordinary growth in house prices that fuelled a number of housing booms is unlikely to happen again.

They wrote: "The challenges of the future must be tackled on the basis of the context in which we find ourselves today. That is one of low interest rates, relatively low inflation, high and rising house prices relative to the incomes of prospective home-owners, and an ageing population.

"From our analysis, this combination is unlikely to unlock broad-based equity building or provide much scope for more relaxed lending."

Missing movers or not, Homeward Legal is here to help every buyer and seller involved in the property market. Contact our sales team on for a no-obligation quote for conveyancing or find out here how much your sale, purchase or remortgage might cost.

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