Property sales expected to slow as divorce rate tumbles

Office for National Statistics data revealed that there were 80,057 divorces granted in England and Wales in 2022 - the lowest number since 1971.


The number of property sales is expected to slow as the UK divorce rate tumbles due to the increasing cost of living and higher mortgage rates narrowing the options for those who need to borrow to buy a new home.

Data from the Office for National Statistics last week revealed that there were 80,057 divorces granted in England and Wales in 2022 – a 29.5% decrease compared with 2021 (113,505 divorces) and the lowest number of divorces since 1971.


Ben Glassman, Financial Planning Partner and Head of Family and Divorce at wealth management firm Evelyn Partners, says: “Financial pressures can be a complicated dynamic for many couples.

Ben Glassman, Evelyn Partners
Ben Glassman, Evelyn Partners

“Some decide to remain together because they do not want to incur the costs of formal separation and don’t like the look of solo life’s financial challenges, with for instance one partner having to buy their own property.

“The soaring cost of mortgages was a major development in 2023 that, alongside very high property values in many areas and the increase in the cost of living made separation for some couples a trickier financial conundrum than it had been previously.”

Living as part of a couple is usually cheaper and more financially secure than living alone.


Glassman says: “Those embarking on life as a single person, particularly if they have been married for many years, can experience something of a financial shock. Nowhere is that more noticeable now than in regard to property, with house prices close to all-time highs and mortgage rates and rental costs higher than they have been in many years.”

And he adds: “If there is no option but to sell the home, in a weakening property market that could mean having to accept a lower offer than envisaged – and it could also mean having to pay an early repayment charge if the mortgage was fixed.

“Each partner, with their share of the equity, will then be faced with the task of securing a new mortgage at elevated rates to buy their respective new homes.

“With rates where they are, a single buyer might find they can afford less than they’d hoped, without moving to a cheaper area.”

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