Transactions plummet right across the UK, says latest Land Registry data

Sales fell steeply at the start of this year as transactions slumped across the UK in January, Land Registry data shows. The data builds on separate new HMRC figures, reported by EYE yesterday, showing transactions down in April.

The Land Registry’s House Price Index for March gives an indication of how the sales market performed at the start of 2018, showing transaction data representing 90% of the market in January.

The figures show that the number of completed property transactions across the UK fell by 12.9% annually and 39.4% on a monthly basis to 63,871.

January is traditionally a quieter month for sales, but the decline between December and January is larger than the 29.9% recorded between the end of 2016 and the start of 2017 and the 23.81% recorded a year before.

The annual 12.9% drop is also more than the 3.89% yearly figure recorded in January 2017.

There was a 24.6% drop between December 2014 and January 2015 and 16.2% between December 2013 and January 2014.

The biggest annual drops for January this year were in England and Northern Ireland at 12% and 12.4% respectively. England registered 50,583 sales while Northern Ireland saw 4,545.

Scotland saw sales fall 7.4% annually in January 2018 to 5,909 while Wales experienced a 7.3% fall to 2,834.

London led the decline on a regional basis, seeing volumes fall 19.6% annually to 5,567 during January.

More recent data on house prices for March shows annual growth was flat at 4.2% in March and declined 0.2%, leaving average values at £224,144.

The highest annual growth was in Scotland, up 6.7% to £146,009 on average, while London was the only region to see an annual fall, where prices slid 0.7% to £471,944.

On a monthly basis, the east of England saw the highest growth, at just 1% to £291,415. The largest monthly drop was in the north-east, down 1.5% to £124,381.

Commenting on the data, Sam Mitchell, chief executive of HouseSimple, said: “Buyer demand is holding up, particularly the first-time buyer end of the market. First time buyers are benefiting not just from the stamp duty freeze but also less competition from buy-to-let investors.

“But transaction levels generally are struggling to pick up, and the spring period hasn’t seen the typical rush of purchases that we would normally expect.

“This is partly down to Brexit uncertainty and low stock levels, but it’s also a result of a buyers pushing hard on price and sellers holding out, rather than caving in and feeling pressurised to drop their prices.

“It does feel like we have a stand-off between buyers and sellers at the moment, particularly in London.

“There are still deals being made, and the successful sellers are prepared to negotiate.

“Also, sellers who are on the ball are watching the market, looking at what is selling or not selling in their area, and adjusting their expectations and prices accordingly to attract buyers.”


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  1. Client1st

    Wow! could part of the reason for the fall in transaction levels be due to the growth of the ineffective up front fee on line agents not being as effective as commission driven agents.

  2. cyberduck46

    Best not to rely too much on one months’ data.


    In April 2017 there were 79930 sales and a year earlier 67097. An increase of about 19%.


    Yet for the year as a whole the numbers decreased from 1103711 to 1085320. A drop of about 1.7%.


    The reported drop is only actually 8250 sales. Pretty insignificant considering there are over a million sales a year.

    1. PeeBee

      It’s sort of nice to see you appearing to be taking an interest in our industry in general, ducky – and not just the purple-stained @r$e end of it.

      However, your comments lack depth.

      You are stating that 8250 out of a million is a drop in the ocean.  It is.  But that 8250 was taken over a period of thirty days – there are 365 in a year.

      Therefore IF the trend continues – there would be statistically some 100375 less transactions in a year – and who knows how much worse than that it could get.

      Experienced Agents proudly wear the scars of the market – it is our medals of honour and signs of our commitment to our customers.

      We’ve seen it time and time again.

      Those of us who know the market will be ready for whatever hits our fan, and will work tirelessly to make the market work.

      Those who are in it for fair-weather golf – those that simply ride on the rollers – will be looking for the back door as I press POST COMMENT. 

      Seen it happen, many times.  It’s the only constant form of evolution in our industry.

      Those that can’t hack it will be hit by the next asteroid that, as with every other before it, have been the true disrupters… 

      … straight from the outer limits of the property market.

  3. Property Paddy

    This was pretty much predicted (even by me two years ago). Sellers can hold out because low interest rates gives them more time to market without being penalised financially with unaffordable mortgages.

    Buyers are being offered new builds with extra incentives to pull them away from normal resells

  4. P-Daddy

    Wow….only 2834 sales in Wales!! That is less than half the transactions in Scotland, and that will reflect a genuine challenge due to weather…the Scots had a proper hard winter!

  5. surrey1



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