Numbers of home movers have fallen for the first time since 2011, according to a report by Lloyds Bank. The figures suggest that around 13,000 fewer people moved home in 2016 than the previous year. So what factors are causing the numbers to drop?
High stamp duty and a shortage of supply have been blamed for the fall in numbers. Fewer second-time buyers find themselves able to afford a larger home, while fewer older people seem to be downsizing. Stamp duty increases for the more expensive homes may be causing sluggishness in the lower end of the market as wealthy homeowners are not moving and freeing up properties for those climbing the property ladder.
Leading politicians have called for a review of stamp duty in March's budget, but given that over £2.5 billion was generated by the purchase of expensive properties, Chancellor Philip Hammond may be reluctant to reverse the increase in the tax brought in by Chancellor George Osbourne in 2014.
Stamp duty is not just an expense for the wealthy, however. As house prices rise, stamp duty has become increasingly expensive for all buyers, who now have to factor in an average cost of £11,000 to cover stamp duty, estate agents' fees and legal fees.
Even though affordability for first-time buyers is in a slump, Lloyd's figures suggest that first time buyer numbers have increased. The slowing down in the market then is more as a result of homeowners not moving up the ladder to the more expensive properties due to cost, and, as the bank suggest, a lack of suitable properties to purchase combined with concerns about the impact of Brexit on the housing market.
More stringent affordability rules is also constraining the market as some homeowners may be unable to move their loan to a new property.