Which locations in Britain have the longest tenure length?

New analysis has revealed where property owners choose long-term ownership over selling.

Related topics:  Property,  Homeownership
Property | Reporter
4th March 2024
Detached house
"I think it’s not just the house, it’s definitely the community. People will choose to live longer in certain homes because they’re part of a community and they’ve got ties to the community."
- Paula Higgins - HomeOwners Alliance

By analysing historic property ownership data from HM Land Registry, Online Mortgage Advisor has discovered where Brits live in and own their properties the longest, and where people are the most likely to sell up and move on the soonest.

The research found that the average tenure length across Great Britain is 10 years and 2 months. regionally, the longest tenure lengths in Great Britain are to be found in the capital, with people on average selling their properties and moving on after 11 years, 3 months and 19 days.

Regional breakdown

1: London - 11 years, 3 months, 19 days
2: North East - 10 years, 6 months, 7 days
3: North West - 10 years, 5 months, 25 days
4: Wales - 10 years, 5 months, 13 days
5: Yorkshire and The Humber - 10 years, 3 months, 9 days
6: West Midlands - 10 years, 0 months, 25 days
7: South West - 9 years, 10 months, 25 days
8: East Midlands - 9 years, 9 months, 25 days
9: East of England - 9 years, 9 months, 22 days
10: South East - 9 years, 9 months, 20 days

However, it's in South Staffordshire, West Midlands, where homeowners are choosing to remain the longest in their homes with an average tenure length of 12 years, 3 months and 19 days.

Top 5 longest average tenures

1: South Staffordshire - 12 Years 3 Months 19 Days
2: Wirral - 11 Years 11 Months 2 Days
3: Isles of Scilly - 11 Years 8 Months 2 Days
4: County Durham - 11 Years 6 Months 16 Days
5: Middlesbrough - 11 Years 6 Months 13 Days

Where in GB do homeowners sell and move on the quickest?

On the other end of the scale is Waverley in the South East, where people sell their homes the quickest. On average, the tenure length here is 5 years, 0 months and 31 days.

The rest of the top locations for homeowners to sell up quickly are dominated by places in Scotland.

Orkney Islands comes in second with 7 Years, 0 Months, 22 Days. South Lanarkshire on 7 Years, 2 Months and 9 Days is third. North Ayrshire (7 Years 8 Months 11 Days) and Shetland Islands (7 Years 8 Months 26 Days) make up the top five.

Where in London do homeowners stay the longest?

Concentrating on the capital, the data revealed that Westminster homeowners stay the longest with an average tenure length of 12 years, 5 months and 28 days. This is closely followed by homeowners in Chelsea with an average tenure length of 12 years, 5 months and 12 days.

City of London residents stay on average for 12 Years 4 Months 29 Days and those living in Redbridge stay for 12 Years 4 Months 20 Days. Homeowners in Newham complete the top five with an average tenure length of 12 Years 4 Months 3 Days.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of HomeOwners Alliance, and Property Consultant, Matt Lanninge explain why certain locations are more popular for forever homes than others.

According to Paula, the local area is the defining factor when selecting a forever home.

She says: “I think it’s not just the house, it’s definitely the community. People will choose to live longer in certain homes because they’re part of a community and they’ve got ties to the community.”

Matt agrees and feels that the safety of the location and surroundings will help homeowners decide.

He adds: “The area is arguably more important for some. Some people wouldn’t live on a street they didn’t feel safe on, or was too busy, too quiet, or simply doesn’t reflect them.”

The data highlights that the majority of long-term homeowners opt for detached houses and Matt thinks it’s about having the space to make your own house a home.

He says: “Having full control of your detached home and not having attached neighbours gives homeowners a different sense of security and wellbeing that they may not get with a terraced or semi-detached home.”

Paula, on the other hand, believes that it comes down to having a sense of stability in your income. “It’s essentially your family home so it makes more sense that you’re in a detached house,” she says. “Your income is probably at the highest and you’re at the peak of your earning potential.”

So, when it comes to choosing a forever home, it shouldn’t just be about the house itself. Decisions are made with surrounding locations, communities, and space in mind to guarantee longevity in safety and comfort.

Why are Londoners settling down in certain areas more than others?

When it comes to the capital, the data shows that Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, and the City of London are some of the most common areas to settle down in. Being some of the more luxurious areas of the city, homeowners tend to look to these boroughs for larger investment properties. But are there any other reasons why these locations are so prevalent?

According to Paula, the truth is in the details, with stamp duty costs being a major factor in keeping these London boroughs full.

She explains: “If you’re moving into a £2 million property in one of these boroughs, you’ll be paying approximately 7.56% in stamp duty (£150,000).

"So, if you decide to move for whatever reason – maybe you want a bigger garden or want to upsize – you’ll be losing £150,000 off the amount of money that you can spend on a new property. It really doesn’t make sense to move, you will actually be eroding your affordability.”

But what about the new buyers looking to move into these affluent areas?

You’ll get more bang for your buck in these affluent London boroughs, even if you’re moving in as a new investor.

According to Matt: “These boroughs are also some of the wealthiest local authorities in the country, so charge very little council tax, yet have excellent local facilities.”

It’s no surprise, then, that families and home buyers look to these more comfortable boroughs to settle down in for longer, where the quality of life is high.

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