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More than half of homeowners live in homes that fail to meet their needs

From pets buried in the garden to the draw of the local coffee shop or pub, our survey lifts the lid on what's stopping people from moving.

Guest Author
Words by: Nicky Burridge

Contributing Editor

Just over half of UK homeowners claim to be stuck in a home that doesn't meet their needs.

The average homeowner says they would need a further £125,000 on top of the current value of their home in order to afford somewhere that's suitable for them.

Our survey of 2,400 homeowners also revealed that people typically stay in their home for more than four years after realising it's no longer right for them.

And when asked what finally prompted them to pluck up the courage to move, 25% of homeowners pointed to an increase in income, while 19% said having children made it vital.

Tom Parker, consumer spokesperson at Zoopla, said: “We were blown away to see just how many Brits are living in homes that they don’t feel are right for the needs of themselves and their family.”

Why do many homeowners feel their homes aren't right for their needs?

The need for more space was the key reason for why homes were no longer suitable, with 40% of homeowners surveyed citing this as a factor.

Meanwhile 25% said they were stuck in an area in which they did not want to live, and 23% said not having dedicated space in which to work from home was an issue. 

The survey comes as many people reassess what they need from a home in light of the pandemic and successive lockdowns.

With working from home for at least part of the week likely to become the norm for many people, the need to have a dedicated space in which to work has increased as a priority, while many people feel they just need more space at home generally.

At the same time, not having to commute into the office every day means areas that are close to work or good transport links no longer hold the same appeal as they once did.

So what is stopping homeowners from moving?

Among those who said they live in a home that was not suitable for them, 39% said being unable to find somewhere that was right for them within their budget was the main factor stopping them from moving.

A quarter of those who did not like their home also said the cost of moving was a barrier preventing them from buying somewhere else. 

Emotional ties

While some homeowners are unable to move for financial reasons, others feel tied to their current home for emotional ones.

Around 27% of those surveyed said they had an emotional attachment to their home, while 55% of parents said their children were attached to it. 

Among this group, 13% of parents said they could not move from their current home because it would upset their children too much, and 36% said they could not bear to leave the home in which they had brought up their children. 

One in five homeowners said they liked their neighbours too much to move, while 8% said they could not leave their property because they had buried pets in their garden.

Lure of the neighbourhood

Meanwhile, for many homeowners, their love of the neighbourhood prevented them from moving. Among these, 26% said their fondness of their local pubs stopped them from relocating, and 21% felt the same way about their local coffee shop.

What could this mean for you?

Our recent research showed that half of homeowners undervalue their property by an average of £46,000.

So if you think you can’t afford to move, it’s worth getting to grips with the current value of your home. You may be in for a nice surprise and discover that you have enough hidden equity in your home to consider a move.

How Zoopla can help

  • Check out My Home on Zoopla to get an estimate of how much your property is worth. It'll help give you an idea of what your budget could be for your next move.

  • If you are keen to go ahead with a sale, My Home can also help you contact local estate agents to get a professional valuation.

  • And if you’re on the lookout for your next home to buy, get ahead by registering with Zoopla and signing up for our property alerts. You'll find out as soon as a home meeting your criteria comes on to the market.

Top 3 takeaways

  • Just over half of UK homeowners claim to be stuck in a home that fails to meet their needs

  • The average person says they would need an additional £125,000 on top of the current value of their home in order to afford somewhere that is suitable for them

  • Homeowners typically stay in their current home for more than four years after realising it is no longer appropriate for them

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.