British people say they cannot afford to move house in 2012

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Stagnation in 2012 as young unable to buy and older home owners unwilling to sell

Only 12% of British people plan to buy or sell a property in first six months of 2012 with young people in particular saying they cannot afford to, research unveiled today (Friday 27 January) shows.

It is leading to a generational divide in the UK property market that is likely to cause housing stagnation in 2012, with young people unable to buy and older home owners unwilling to sell, according to a new survey by HSBC.

The 2012 HSBC Moving Home Survey, which asked more than 2,000 adults about their home buying and selling intentions over the next six months, revealed that only 12% are thinking about moving home or getting on the housing ladder.

Of those house holders not looking to move, 61% of people aged 55 and over said it was because they are happy with their current property compared to just 28% of those aged 34 and under.

While the contentment felt by older homeowners may continue to limit the amount of available housing stock, the stagnation in the market is likely to be prolonged by the perceived financial obstacles facing younger Britons, it says.

Of those people aged 34 and under who are not planning to buy or sell a property, some 29% said that the main reasons is having an insufficient deposit, 15% said it was concern about not getting a mortgage and 14% said it was fears about employment prospects.

While financial concerns were a factor for many young people staying put, 10% said they simply did not wish to own a home, suggesting a reverse in the home ownership aspirations of this age group.

The main reasons people aged over 55 are thinking of selling a property are to downsize and release some, or all, of the equity held within it. While the key motivations for younger people aged 34 and under was to get on the property ladder or to have more space.

Overall, the housing market looks set to be the most buoyant for Londoners, where 18% of people are thinking of buying and/or selling property of one sort or another in the next six months.

‘Our research suggests that the current economic climate is of particular concern to younger people who either want to get on the housing ladder or move on to a larger property,’ said Peter Dockar, HSBC head of mortgages.

He pointed out that HSBC has committed to make at least £15 billion available this year to mortgage customers, with £3 billion explicitly for first time buyers. ‘The majority will be new money into the mortgage market, effectively making the bank one of the largest providers of new mortgage funding in the UK. This commitment will help in the region of 150,000 homeowners and over 27,000 first time buyers,’ he explained.

HSBC is currently offering a number of market leading mortgage products including a range of fee free lifetime tracker products starting from a rate of 2.49% for those with a 35% deposit in the January sale, the only sub 4% rate loan for first time buyers with a 10% deposit and 3.84% on a two year discount mortgage with no fee to pay.

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