New research has found that only a tiny percentage of people are planning to buy a home in the next year, as plunging property values and a lack of bank lending keep mortgage holders tied to their current homes.
Just 2pc of householders are planning to either buy a home, trade up or down or move to a different rental property. This translates to around 40,000 people.
Instead of moving or buying, consumers intend to concentrate on paying off debt and redecorating where they live, the report from consumer research firm Mintel shows.
Severe mortgage-lending conditions and a continuing fall in house prices are forcing people to put off purchases.
Some 300,000 out of 800,000 mortgage holders are in negative equity, where the value of their mortgage is greater than the value of the home.
Mintel's David Pasley said the research showed that one in eight adults were planning to redecorate their homes. The focus of the homeowners was also on attempting to pay down their existing debts rather than taking on a new mortgage.
Just 11,000 new mortgages are expected to be issued this year -- a 40-year low.
Meanwhile, a report from selling agents Sherry FitzGerald shows that the price of a secondhand house fell 5pc in the period between April and June.