Fewest Londoners moving house since 1991, reports CML

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The number of homeowners moving house in London last year fell to its lowest level for 25 years, according to the latest lending figures.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said home-movers in the capital took out just 32,400 loans in 2016.

That was 10% fewer than in 2015 and the lowest number since the recession of 1991.

The number of first-time buyers needing a loan also fell. They took out 43,300 mortgages, a drop of 5% on 2015.

The total number of home buyers in London in 2016 was the lowest for four years, the CML said.

"Persisting supply and affordability issues appear to be exerting an ongoing restraint on growth, meaning there is some uncertainty around how the market will perform going into 2017," said the CML's director general, Paul Smee.

'Transaction friction'

However, not everyone agrees that a shortage of homes is the issue.

"It is not supply. There are currently tens of thousands of homes for sale in London on Rightmove," said property expert Henry Pryor.

He said that it was the cost of moving that was deterring people from buying them.

"The problem is the 'transaction friction' - predominantly the higher rates of stamp duty at the upper end."

The average home mover in London borrowed £335,000 in 2016, which represented just under four times annual household income.

The average house price in the capital is now £484,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The figures do not include the number of people who paid cash for their new home.

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