1/12 UK homes for sale have owners who only moved in during the pandemic. Why are so many moving so soon?

The UK property market saw significant shifts during the pandemic. Many people during and after the pandemic, having spent many months staring at the 4 walls of their homes, that it wasn’t up to standard and no longer met their needs or desires. Due to this many people decided to move and find a place that at the time, they thought would be a great choice for them. However, four years later, many who moved are beginning to realise this move may have just been an impulsive decision due to being locked up in their homes and are now realising that their new lives may not be all that they wanted. Obviously, this is not the only reason for the sudden and dramatic shortening in the time of people living in their houses, but it is certainly a big reason. This article will investigate why many are selling so soon after buying and the reasons why.


After the first lockdown in spring 2020, remote working became the norm for many people in most industries. This change not only brought about a re-evaluation for most people about their living situation, but the knock-on effect brought unprecedented changes to the property market.

People were filled with the desire to attain more indoor and outdoor space. This desire drove a huge surge in property purchases, particularly in suburban and rural areas. Buyers were eager to escape the confines of inner-city life and wanted to seek more spacious and comfortable homes. What drove this boom, even more, was the ‘stamp-duty holiday’, favorable economic conditions and low interest rates. Buying property was more attractive than ever, and many people ended up taking advantage.


Traditionally, homeowners in the UK tend to stay in their homes for a long period of time. There are 17,693,200 owner-occupied homes in the UK. In 2023, a total of 1.02 million homes were sold. This figure includes 231,000 new homes, which means 790,500 of these sales were to existing homes. This is a notable statistic as it means only 4.48% moved home in this period, implying that on average homeowners move every 22 years.

With this information in mind, one would expect to see the number of homeowners looking to move so soon after buying relatively small. Therefore, we decided to analyse the properties for sale in Batha and see if the statistics match these anecdotal suggestions.

There are 807 properties available for sale in the Bath area.

The breakdown of these properties is as follows:

  • Detached houses: 21
  • Semi-detached: 6
  • Terraced: 35
  • Apartments: 17
  • Bungalows: 5

Out of these 807 properties, 84 of these were purchased in the pandemic years of 2020/21. So why are 10.4% (8.2% across the UK) of bath owners looking to sell so soon after buying?


There are a few factors we are noticing which are contributing to this trend. They are as follows:

  1. Overestimating the appeal of suburban/rural living: During the pandemic, the idea of moving to a more peaceful setting such as the Mendips, Cotswold’s or suburban Bath may have seemed, at the time, idyllic. However, the reality of rural and suburban life is hitting the ex-city folk harder than they perhaps thought they would. Longer commutes to work, fewer close amenities, and a vastly different pace of life have meant the rural dream has not lived up to the expectations many had.
  2. Changes in work arrangements: Whilst remote working was a widely adopted practice during the early days of the pandemic and remained the same for many companies for a few years now, many companies are beginning to call employees back to the office be it full or part-time. This arrangement is making it difficult for those who moved far from the office to remote areas to commute once or twice a week, and it is encouraging owners to move back closer to their place of work
  3. Economic pressures: the financial landscape has also changed since the height of the pandemic. Rising interest rates are making homeownership less affordable and leading them to sell up sooner than planned.
  4. Market opportunities: The current property market might allow Bath homeowners to make a profit. With Bath property values increasing over the past few years, some owners might be looking to capitalize on this and sell their homes at a higher price.


These post-pandemic realisations for homeowners are more than likely going to be causing a significant increase in the number of properties coming to market over the next couple of years. We are already seeing higher-than-average numbers of homes for sale since 2017. Between 2017 and 2019 the average number of homes for sale year on year in May was 632,132. In May 2024 alone, we saw 694,281 homes for sale.

This increase in the supply of homes for sale means Bath home sellers need to be realistic with their asking prices as competition is greater.

To back up the idea that realistic pricing is vital if you want to move home. Only 53 out of every 100 properties leaving the UK estate agents’ books since Jan 2024 have been sold through to competition. The other remaining 47% have come off the market unsold.

Moreover, this trend could signal a shift in how people view homeownership post-pandemic. The rush to buy during the pandemic might have been more about the impulsive immediate needs and wants during those days cooped up in the house round the clock. However, as the world continues to return to normality, people’s housing preferences and requirements have evolved again and will likely have changed since those days four years ago. This is leading to dynamic movements in the property market.


The trend of pandemic-era homebuyers in Bath putting their properties back on the market is highlighting the fluid nature of the current property. Whilst individual reasons for selling are varied and complex, the market is widely reflecting a broader change in how we live and work. As the market continues to adjust to post-pandemic realities, buyers and sellers in Bath must stay informed and able to adapt to be able to navigate these changes successfully. So, if you want to keep informed then be sure to follow us across our social media channels.