The latest Lloyds Bank Homemover Review has revealed that the number of people moving home has fallen in the first half of the year and now account for only 49% of the housing market.
This is the first time homemover numbers have fallen behind first-time buyers since 1995.
There were 170,000 homemovers in the first half of 2018, down by 1,700 (1%) compared with the same period last year and down by 33,000 (16%) from the second half of 2017.
Lloyds said this inactivity may be being fuelled by a shortage of suitable properties for sale but reflects the broader housing market which is showing little sign of movement.
The fall in homemover numbers follows a rise in 2017, which reported the highest level of movers in 10 years. This also coincides with a 3% rise in first-time buyers to 175,500, so that for the first time since 1995, 49% of all house purchases financed by a mortgage were made by homemovers – down from 62% in the first half of 2011.
Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage products director, said: “Despite continuing low mortgage rates, the homemover market has stabilised with little movement in the first half of this year to leave first-time buyers now driving housing activity.
“This may be in part due to the Help to Buy scheme enabling first-time buyers to purchase a new property, combined with the low availability of the ‘right type’ of homes for those looking to move up the housing ladder. The costs of moving house and potential further interest rate rises may also be weighing on potential homebuyers’ minds.
“However, it is good to see the number of first-time buyers increasing, helping to keep some movement along the property ladder.”