New research has revealed that Leeds is the house swapping capital of the UK.
The survey, by leading mutual exchange service House Exchange, found that Leeds had the highest number of home swaps take place UK wide in the last year, with a total of 1,108.
Most movers (37 per cent) made the decision because they wanted to downsize, while being closer to family and friends was the second most popular reason - stated by 25 per cent of those questioned.
Wanting a bigger property was the third most common reason at 23 per cent. Other reasons included employment, a better area and caring for relatives while the least likely reasons for moving were benefit changes and anti-social behaviour, at just 2 per cent.
Mutual exchange works by pairing up social housing tenants who want to switch homes across the UK.
Kim Gilden, House Exchange manager, said: “When it comes to mutual exchange, Leeds is head and shoulders above its counterparts. The great news for the area is that the more tenants we have signed up, the better the service works, which is why it has proved such a success. With waiting lists for social housing growing, House Exchange offers a simple yet vital solution for many residents and families who are having trouble finding alternative housing to better suit their needs.
“We are immensely proud of our Leeds partnerships and we look forward to continuing to work with them in our aim to help more people move in the future.”
The House Exchange website automatically matches house-seekers with properties that meet their needs. Once a social housing provider signs up with House Exchange, all its tenants can use the service for free. In Leeds, 100 per cent of social landlords have signed up, meaning all 102,000 social households across the city are able to use the service.
One person who has benefited is Karen Frost. She was living in a two bed home in the city with her husband. Due to a series of health problems she was no longer able to manage the stairs and was finding living in their home increasingly challenging. After a suggestion from a friend, Karen signed up to House Exchange - she started looking for a bungalow nearby and with a week she had found a match. Karen and her husband soon moved into their new home and are now much happier.
Mrs Frost said: “Everything was so quick and smooth - signing the paperwork and actually moving came round so fast and was basically stress free. I love the new house. It is exactly what I wanted as I can’t get upstairs anymore. It has helped with my health problems and now I have my own garden. This will be our home for life now; we have no plans to move again.
“The only downside was waiting for the decision to swap. I have already suggested House Exchange to several other people.”
Visit houseexchange.org.uk for more information or to sign up.