The relocation movers

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Janet and Stephen McLeod are typical of today's movers. When British Rail was privatised, Stephen McLeod's job went from Leeds to York. For more than a year he commuted an hour each way to work, which cost £150 a month in petrol. It was not until his wife Janet gave up her job as a psychiatric nurse in Leeds, following the birth of their second child, that they decided to move house.

It took them six months to sell their three-bedroom semi in the Moortown area of Leeds and buy a bigger semi in the centre of York. They sold for £65,000, exactly the same as they paid for the house in 1991, before they carried out extensive improvements.

"We had talked about extending because the house was getting too small with two young children," says Janet McLeod. "But we wouldn't have moved because the market is so flat."

They didn't begin to look in York until they had sold their house in Leeds. It went to a man who planned to rent it out. Their new house had been empty for some time and its owners were very keen to sell. The McLeods got it for £74,000.

The McLeods sold through the Halifax Estate Agencies. Alan Snowball, their operations director, said business was down by about 10 per cent on last year. He said: "We are taking more properties on but they are not selling. Those houses which are selling are at the bottom end of the market, where some of the demand is being satisfied with new build. There are no chains and no discretionary moves."