House sales dropped in two thirds of markets last year

Michael Lloyd

January 3, 2019

Housing sales improved in just 35.6% of local authority areas in 2018, meaning they dropped in 64.4% of markets, modular smart homes provider Project Etopia has found.

Analysis of the latest Land Registry data suggests there has been a 2.3% drop in the number of transactions completed in England and Wales this year.

Among the 374 local authority areas, only 133 have seen an increase in the number of homes sold, the average rise being 3.5%2 for the eight months to August 2018 compared with the same period last year.

Joseph Daniels, chief executive of Project Etopia, 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. It’s easy to forget that there were 231,690 fewer homes sold in the last financial year than a decade earlier.

“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.”

Stevenage, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Cambridge were the places that saw the worst falls. Stevenage witnessed a 27.5% drop, Newcastle-under-Lyme a 16.2% slump and Cambridge a fall of 16%. Among those areas that saw falls in sales, the average decline was 4.9%2.

A total of 122 areas have seen transactions fall by more than 5%, while 41 local authorities witnessed sales drop by more than 10% and 11 areas more than 15%.

Greater London has been deeply affected. Tower Hamlets and Croydon have been worst affected, with transaction levels dropping 22.5% and 15.4% respectively.

City of London saw the biggest increase of any local authority area in England and Wales but was starting from a low base. It saw sales rise 66% — but only 146 properties changed hands in eight months.

The best performing towns/cities outside London were Chorley (17%). Hull (13.9%) and Lincoln (12.3%).

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