How far are you prepared to go?

21st December 2023

How far are you prepared to go?

When you are buying or selling a home, or as many of our customers are doing at Easymove, considering an investment, have you ever wondered how far people move from their homes? Do we go off in search of pastures new or, like cats, do we just go a few gardens either side? The answer, according to Zoopla, depends on where you live, the prevailing economic conditions and the type of property you are looking for.


Zoopla’s data reveals that, in normal times, we are serious creatures of habit, with the average home mover going just going 3.9 miles from their current home and 75% only bothered looking in one or two neighbourhoods. Shockingly, that’s actually a bit further than we were prepared to go in pre-pandemic days (2019), when we only managed 3.7 miles. And even during the pandemic itself, the much-hyped exodus to the country hardly lived up to its billing. The proportion of London buyers enquiring about properties 20 miles or more from their homes did increase to 24% in the summer of 2021, but that was only up 3% from the 18% in 2019. The average distance moved only climbed by 0.7 miles to 4.4 miles.

Its those in the more southern half of the country that are prepared to go the furthest, and those in the East, the furthest of all (8.9 miles). Next comes the Southeast at 5.7 miles. Londoners will move, on average, around 4.6 miles. Movers in those parts of the UK also have the highest proportion of people willing to look beyond 10 miles for their next home (see table).

It’s mostly because they are more expensive areas. As a consequence, buyers have to search further afield in order to be able to afford to take a step up the ladder. It means, for example, in London, people will look three times further away when moving from a house to a flat. Availability also plays a key role, so in Manchester, where only 1 in 27 properties on the market is a detached house, buyers are forced to look up to 23 miles from where they live. And, clearly, if you are looking for a specific type of property, such as a bungalow, you’ll have to widen your search to areas where they are available.

The rising base rate and stretched affordability are also currently playing a key role in our choices of where we buy. They are forcing people to go ever further in their search for value for money and so the average distance is likely to grow over the next year or so. At the same time, the prevalence of working from home is turning moving further from our places of work into a viable option. It’s not just happening in the sales market, either, soaring rents are pushing tenants further afield, too. So, how far are you prepared to go?