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House mover activity stalls

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Activity in the property market has increased by a third compared to 2009 but remains well behind peak levels.

Figures released by Lloyds Bank said 155,000 people moved home in the first six months of the year. This was 9% lower than the same period a year ago, it said.

However, this figure is 32% higher than 2009, when the market bottomed out.

Since the recession the first-time buyer market has improved at a much faster rate. This means the proportion of all mortgages taken out by existing homeowners has fallen from 72% in 2004 to 54% today.

Many would-be movers have been deterred by the increasing deposit needed to move up the property ladder. An average property for a ‘second stepper’ requires a deposit of £90,000, a figure that rises to more than £175,000 in London.

The average price paid by a homemover has increased by a quarter during the past five years from £208,654 in 2010 to £261,524 today. This represents an increase of £52,869, equivalent to a monthly rise of £881.

Changes to stamp duty have provided some respite for movers. Lloyds Bank said the changes had saved the average homeowners £4,769.

But movers in London have seen less benefit from the changes. The typical Londoner has seen stamp duty charges fall just £142, from £14,786 down to £14,644.

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgages director, said: “There was a modest decline in the number of homemovers in the first half of the year compared with 2014, which was in line with the general softening in housing market activity.

“Whilst the number of homemovers has risen significantly since 2009, it remains well below previous levels and has recovered less strongly than first-time buyer numbers. This is likely to partly reflect the high costs associated with moving home, as well as highlighting the difficulties that homeowners can face in finding somewhere suitable to move to due to the shortage of properties available for sale.”

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