Moving house may be a major upheaval, but 370,300 people decided to do it last year. So what is it that triggers this desire to move on?

1) More space/growing family

That are not many who don't want a bit more space. The decision to upsize can sometimes be provoked by visits to friends’ and family’s more spacious homes, but the most common reason is a new baby. And it doesn’t just end there - as the kids get older, they take up even more space. When you think there were 696,271 births in 2016 in England and Wales (source: ONS) - there are plenty of reasons to move.

2) Being closer to family

Most of us like to be near our families, especially when we start one of our own or our parents need some help as they get older and, as a bonus, it can help to reduce the childcare bill. The truth is that not many of us have wandered far from the family home in the first place - according to a survey by Bosch - typically, we only travel 32 miles during between each move and rarely end up more than 63 miles from our place of birth.

3) School catchment area/empty nest

For new parents, living in the catchment area of good primary schools is essential and then, when the children get closer to secondary school age, they may have to move again. 10% of parents with children aged 4 to 18 claim to have moved house for this reason (source: Santander), although the real figure may be much higher. And when it’s all over and the children leave home, it can be the catalyst for another move, as both the need for space and a home in an expensive catchment area are no longer there.

4) Change of job

If the perfect job comes up in another town, it may be necessary to move. This type of move tends to occur more frequently in tougher economic times, as otherwise we are more likely tend stay put when there are similar job options nearer by.

5) Bored/itchy feet

A survey by Zoopla discovered that, typically, we get bored of our properties after a period of seven years and four months, although the figure is just 20 months for most rental properties. The younger you are, the sooner you start to get itchy feet, with 25-34 year olds moving on the most quickly and the over 55s have the least itchy feet. Zoopla also discovered that 60% of all home moves were initiated by females, because they had become dissatisfied by their current homes.

6) Divorce/separation or a new relationship

Divorce is another very common reason for moving house. The latest figures from the ONS show there were 106,959 divorces in 2016, or an unlucky 13 an hour. On the flip side, there were nearly twice as many marriages – 239,020, but neither figure takes into account any newly cohabiting or separating couples.

7) Downsizing/release equity

People often downsize in order to cut down on their outgoings or release capital. Because pensions and savings are producing such low returns, the vast majority of them retirées who are using the equity tied up in their home to help fund their retirement. According to MGM Advantage, 1.36 million retirées are planning to downsize over the next five years.

8) Death

It’s not a happy thought, but 525,048 people died in England and Wales in 2016 (source:ONS). Many would have been survived by their partners, but even so, each year it results in a substantial number of properties being put on the market.

ONS – Office of National Statistics