Research shows homeowners would rather extend than move

A study carried out by estate agent Savilles on behalf of the BBC has indicated that people are much more likely to extend their current home than move to a new home and the change appears to have happened since the credit crunch.

The research shows that people tended to move house four times after their first purchase, but that has now dropped to just 2 times. Homeowners are now more likely to extend their home to find the space for growing families.

While it may be expected that the problem of being unable to move would be concentrated in areas where housing prices are high, it is in fact spread across the country. In fact, those areas where house prices are not increasing offer little profit to anyone wishing to sell, slowing down the market.

Lucian Cook from Savilles has stated that the housing market has long focused on first-time buyers and offered concessions aimed at this market, but that those who are failing to trade up have been forgotten.

For many, getting a mortgage has become more difficult due to tightening regulations following the credit crunch, while the reduction in interest-only mortgages and those offered to those with poor credit has meant a stagnation in the market.

This failure to move has impacted on the choices people make in terms of their employment and has a knock on effect for removals firms and estate agents. For the elderly, the impact is being felt in their inability to find bungalows to move into, forcing them to stay in homes that are too large for their needs.

Homeowners are estimating that they can save as much as £200,000 by extending their current home rather than moving to a larger one. With permitted development allowing a significant increase in living space without planning permission and at a very reasonable cost, many families are opting for this route.