Residential transactions in England and Wales fell by nearly 15% last year, new Land Registry figures suggest.
The latest Price Paid Data from the Land Registry, which details property submitted for registration in December, suggests there were 70,943 residential sales registered in the last month of the year.
This is down from 99,385 in November and takes the total registrations for 2017 for residential property to 850,281.
That total was 14.6% down on 2016 when there were 996,650 residential transactions.
The Land Registry’s numbers will be reviewed as it typically takes between two weeks and two months to register a sale.
If correct, it would confirm market sentiment that the transactions slowed last year but suggests they may not have dropped by as much as the 20% that Emoov predicted last week. The online agent said it would release its updated analysis later this week.
Figures also reveal that the Land Registry was working up to Christmas Eve on registering properties, with the last one registered on December 24, 2017.
The most expensive residential sale during December was of a terrace property in the City of Westminster for £10m, while the cheapest residential sale was of a terrace property in Llanelli for £15,000.
The number of transactions in 2017 is far fewer than the 1.2m annual sales regularly reported in recent years and well below the 2m transactions a year that were a feature of the housing market in the 1980s.
They are more closely in line with the figures registered during the slump of 2013, when Land Registry records so there were 805,951 transactions.
Transactions fell considerably lower in the crash of 2008, when there were 650,513 transactions.
The figures come on the back of disappointing levels of mortgage approvals for house purchases throughout the past year.
Figures released by the Bank of England earlier this month showed the extent to which house purchases have slowed as home owners opt to stay put and remortgage instead.
There were 65,139 house purchase mortgage approvals in November, up slightly from 64,887 in October and reversing a trend of monthly falls since September.
But the figure was below the previous six-month average of 66,562.
However, interest in property remains strong, according to Zoopla this morning. Ahead of its AGM today, ZPG said that between October and the end of the year, it averaged 53m visits per month.