Sixteen - the average number of homes you'll have in a lifetime

BRITONS in the 21st century will end up living in 16 different homes over their lifetime compared to their parents' generation who will have stayed in just five, according to new figures.

Modern homeowners get itchy feet every five years on average as they try and move up the property ladder.

Their total property haul of 16 homes includes the houses of their childhood, university lodgings, rented flat shares, first time buys, family homes and finally downsizing for retirement.

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This is almost twice as many homes as outlined in a similar social trends survey in 1990, showing just how often modern householders are willing to move if they can.

In contrast, today's average 65-year-old has only lived in five homes during his or her lifetime said the study, based on a survey of 2,000 adults of all ages, released yesterday by the Ideal Home Show.

Experts said the trend was mostly down to changing social trends including moving away from home earlier, increased cohabiting before marriage, rising divorce rates and fragmentation of the family unit.

Neil Barber, of Edinburgh-based removal firm Intransit, said: "Social mores have changed. Our customers are moving because they are sharing with a boyfriend, moving up a year in university or are choosing different flatmates. They are moving because they have more options than in previous generations."

Even owner-occupiers are more mobile today. Brett Jefferies, 31, has bought and sold homes in Edinburgh three times in as many years. "My long-term girlfriend and I just decided we needed more room so we're looking to move even though we only just bought the flat we're in now. We just bought it to redecorate and sell it on, really.

"I don't feel particularly attached to places, even though you take pride in any improvements you have made."

The study found older generations were more likely to move straight from their parents' house into the marital home, moving once or twice to bigger properties as the family grew, then a retirement property.

But they also bought property at a time when it was harder to get a mortgage and more emphasis was placed on paying off a loan than constantly extending the amount borrowed.

There was also less profit to be made out of property.

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Many of today's 65-year-olds have lived through periods when house prices have actually fallen, unlike many homeowners in their thirties and younger who have never experienced a boom and bust economy.

The study found 12 million people a year move home in the UK - an average of over 33,000 a day. Every move involves ten days of packing and unpacking so 16 moves will add up to the equivalent of more than five months of tedious organising.

Bernard Clarke, of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said: "The number of mortgages is pretty steady - there is no long-term increasing trend. A lot of homeowners will choose to remortgage when they move."

The Ideal Home Show's director, Caroline Carr, said: "It's amazing to think how many people are boxing up all their possessions every day of the year."

In the future many will be moving into much greener properties built from more sustainable materials and geared towards the environment, the study predicted.


Anna Close, 31, a lecturer in English at Glasgow Metropolitan College, has moved home in Glasgow 12 times in the past 13 years.

1. Autumn 1994 to summer 1995: Left home to move into student halls of residence.

2. Autumn 1995 to summer 1996: shared a flat in Derby Street.

3. Summer 1996: lived with a friend in Hillhead.

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4. Autumn 1996 to summer 1997: shared Grant Street flat with five others.

5. Autumn 1997 to early 1998: shared a flat in Southpark Avenue.

6. Early 1998 to summer 1998: shared a flat in Woodlands Road.

7. Autumn 1998 to end of 1999: shared a flat in Queen's Drive.

8. Autumn 2001 to spring 2002: shared flat in Nithsdale Road.

9.Spring 2002 to spring 2003: shared a flat with one friend in Albert Avenue.

10. Spring 2003 to spring 2005: shared a flat with one friend in Allison Street.

11. Spring 2005 to Nov 2006: shared a flat with partner.

12. Currently sharing a flat in Shawlands.

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