High prices and hefty stamp duty bills resulted in an 18% drop in house moves in London and a 7% drop across England & Wales in 2016. Even formerly strong markets such as Hackney (down 26% last year) and Southwark (down 24%) have seen big falls in sales volumes.
Before the global recession, UK home sales averaged around 1.6 million a year, which plummeted to 860,000 in 2009 but has since recovered to around 1.2 million. First time buyer numbers are slightly down on pre-recession levels, but the bulk of the ca. 400,000 shortfall are "missing movers" – mortgaged home-owners not moving up the housing ladder mainly due to financial reasons.
The average homeowner without a mortgage has now lived in their current home 17.8 years, while mortgage holders have been in their properties for an average of 10.2 years.
First-time buyers make up 47% of all property purchases financed by a mortgage, but those taking their first step on the property ladder need to put down a £33,000 deposit on average. In London, the average first-time buyer deposit is now £106,577.
More homes are being withdrawn from the market in central London than are being sold. 58% of properties taken off the market so far this year were withdrawn rather than being sold. As a result, transactions in the first six months of 2017 were down by 11% compared to the same period last year.