Detached houses are movers’ top choice

31 May 2023

  • The proportion of people moving to detached homes grew from 25% to 32% in 10 years.
  • Terraced homes see the biggest decline – down 5 percentage points since 2013.
  • The average house price paid by those moving home is £428,647 – up 10% from last year and more than double the average price in 2013.
  • The average home mover is now younger, at 39.
  • 112,459 made the move in the first half of 2023, down 29%.

Key findings

  • Average home mover house price 2023: 428,647
  • Detached is the preferred home for movers: 32%
  • Average age of a home mover: 39

Movers choose detached homes

Detached houses were the most popular type of property among people moving homes in the last 12 months, with 32% of sales, as buyers sought out more space, peace, and privacy. This is a significant increase on ten years ago, rising from 25%.

Detached homes are the most popular choice for movers in the East Midlands (45%), Northern Ireland (42%) and six further regions. The greatest rise in popularity amongst buyers was in Northern Ireland, where they were up 13 percentage points, to 42% of sales. While the South East, home for many leaving the capital for more space for their money, saw a rise to 35% from 24%.

Semi-detached homes topped movers’ choices in the North of England, while in London, flats (37%) were the most common property. Semi-detached homes accounted for 28% of UK sales in the last year, followed by terraced with 21%, flats with 12% and bungalows (7%) making up the rest.

Kim Kinnaird, Mortgages Director, Halifax said: “The growing popularity of detached homes reflects a desire or need for more space. With many businesses continuing to embrace hybrid working, we’ve seen people take the opportunity to find homes that better suit their lifestyles in locations that might not have been practical with a daily commute to consider.

“It is also true that detached homes often come as a later step on the housing ladder for many and, when the opportunity arises, families will choose a home that gives them space to settle and grow over a longer period – a ‘forever home’, which will be a more flexible space for their changing needs and lifestyles.

“In contrast, the falling popularity of terraced homes reflects how they are increasingly seen as a first rung on the housing ladder. The relatively poor energy efficiency of many older terraced homes could also be a factor when buyers are looking at household running costs as energy costs look set to remain high.”

Movers get younger

The average age of a UK home mover is now 39, a year younger than 12 months ago, and two years younger than in 2013. The falling age of movers may point to the ‘race for space’ driven by more businesses permanently adopting homeworking and younger homeowners looking for homes that better fit with their lifestyles.

These buyers now have greater flexibility in location, which is giving them the chance to buy homes that might otherwise have been beyond their budgets when a daily commute had to be considered. The fall could also suggest fewer older movers: choosing to extend homes rather than move or delaying sales to maximise their equity before downsizing.

Movers in London are, on average, youngest, at 38, while those in Northern Ireland are the oldest at 41.

Prices grow

The average price paid by people moving home in the UK is £428,647, up 10% on last year, according to new analysis by Halifax. The South East saw the highest rise in prices during the last 12 months. The average home mover in the region now pays £591,247, a rise of 12%. By comparison, the North East has seen prices largely flat, up just 1% to £255,223.

The cost of the average UK home movers’ property is now double (+101%) what it was in 2013, £213,284. Over the same period, homes in nine of the nation’s 12 regions saw prices rise at similar rates, with just Scotland, Wales, and North East seeing price growth at lower levels.

The average deposit made by a home mover now stands at £150,497, up 47% on 2018. This rise is largely in line with home mover house prices over the same period, which grew 44%. London (£261,995) has the highest and the North East (£81,594) the lowest deposits, Northern Ireland saw the largest increase over the last five years (93%), while the East of England saw the lowest (30%). 

Transaction volumes

The number of home moves recorded in the first half of 2023 is 112,459 – this is the lowest number recorded by the Halifax Home Mover Review and is down nearly 30% on last year. The previous low was in H1 2020, when 114,020 home moves completed –caused by the market shutting down due to the pandemic.

Within the regions, the annual change in home movers is consistently down around 30% with one exception: Northern Ireland, which saw a 65% drop. Looking back 10 years paints a different view regionally; the North West saw a fall of just 8%, compared to a 41% reduction in London, and a 45% increase in Northern Ireland.

First-time buyer numbers also dropped during the period. In the first half of the year 121,712 first-time mortgages were completed, around a third fewer than the previous year. This is the lowest recorded since the pandemic but is still close to the long-term average (2008-2023: 132,191). First-time buyers now make up 48% of home buyers in the UK, compared to 38% in 2008.