THE number of people moving up the housing ladder has hit a three-year high as rising house prices boosted the amount of cash they had tied up in their ­original properties.

About 337,500 existing home owners with a mortgage moved house last year in the UK, marking a 3% increase on 2012 and the highest annual total since 2010, according to Lloyds Bank's home movers review.

Lloyds' report pointed to rising house prices as helping to increase existing home owners' equity levels and help free them up to climb onto another rung of the property ladder.

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A recent report from Lloyds' sister bank Halifax found UK house prices rose 7.5% in 2013 to reach £173,467 on average and a similar rise is predicted for this year.

On average, existing home owners are now putting down a deposit of £76,398 on the property they are buying, which is a 6% increase on a year earlier and equates to around one third of the purchase price of the home they are moving into.

Marc Page, Lloyds Bank mortgages director, said: "As house prices have increased over the last 12 months, we're seeing more people look to take the next step on the housing ladder."