Number of house sales slump in almost two thirds of local authority areas

Property sales slumped in almost two thirds of local authority areas during 2018, according to analysis of Land Registry data.

Meanwhile, today’s new report from Nationwide shows house prices slipped in December, from an average of £214,044 in November, to £212,281,  bringing house prices to just 0.5% higher than in December 2017.

The sales volume research – based on Land Registry transaction data as of last August – found that sales fell annually in the first eight months of 2018 in 241 of 374 local authority areas.

However, 35.6% of local authority areas saw sales improve compared with last year in the eight months to August.

Among the 374 local authority areas, 133 saw an increase in the number of homes sold, the average rise being 3.5% for the eight months to August 2018 compared with the same period the previous year.

Stevenage, London’s Tower Hamlets, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Cambridge were the places that saw the worst falls.

Stevenage witnessed a 27.5% drop, Tower Hamlets saw a 22.5% fall, Newcastle-under-Lyme had a 16.2% slump and Cambridge was down 16%.

Town/City

Transactions 2018

Stevenage

-27.5%

Newcastle-under-Lyme

-16.2%

Cambridge

-16.0%

Merthyr Tydfil

-15.1%

Wellingborough

-13.7%

Brighton

-13.3%

Gosport

-12.3%

Runnymede

-12.0%

Bedford

-11.8%

Eastbourne

-11.6%

Meanwhile, there were areas that bucked the trend, with sales up annually in Chorley (17%), Hull (13.9%) and Lincoln (12.3%).

There was a 2.3% annual drop in sales across England and Wales over the eight month period, according to the research.

Town/City

Transactions 2018

Chorley

17.0%

Hull

13.9%

Lincoln

12.3%

Liverpool

10.8%

Rochdale

9.4%

Worcester

8.4%

Carlisle

8.2%

Tewkesbury

7.8%

Mansfield

7.4%

Stafford

7.1%

The sales figures for 2018 could end up higher as the data for the rest of the year has not been released, but Joseph Daniels, chief executive of modular homes provider Project Etopia, warned that this suggests low mortgage rates and Government incentives won’t help the market if there isn’t enough supply.

He said: “It might not be immediately obvious what transaction levels have to do with the housing crisis, but the answer is a great deal. Lack of housing stock means we’re on a merry-go-round of gyrating house prices in this country.

“This feeds into massive price gains that occur over just a few years, causing people to think of their house as an investment not a home. When storm clouds gather on the horizon they then guard their most valuable possession by sitting tight.

“If we had more stock, this boom and bust would be a thing of the past and the sands wouldn’t keep shifting under developers’ feet.”

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