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UK housing market continues to slow

Nia Williams

August 4, 2011

This is according to July data released from the Agency Express Property Activity Index. However, one glimmer of light is that whilst there is an established trend for July house sales to show a fall compared to June, the level of decline in month on month house sales was the lowest seen since the index began in 2007.

A number of regions bucked the trend for the number of properties ‘sold’ in July compared to June with Wales once again at the top of the ‘hot-spots’ recording an increase of 20.7%, the South West up 13.7% and the North West up 7.8%. Three regions saw significant declines in their July house sales figures – South East down 32.6%, the North East down 23.2% and the West Midlands down 22.4%.

The same three regions also boasted the greatest growth in new ‘for sale’ listings against June with the North West up 11.9%, Wales up 11.6% and the South West up 8.2%. At the other end of the table for new listings ‘for sale’ (the not-so-hot-spots) were the South East, down 26.4%, Scotland down 17.7% and London down 11%.

A number of cities experienced significant increases in monthly house sales for July – Exeter topped the table with a rise of 46.6% followed by Bristol up 30.5% and Manchester up 27.9%. The cities recording the largest decline in July for house sales were Brighton, down 43.9%, followed by Birmingham down 17.24% and Cambridge down 15.7%.

Commenting on the latest Index results, Stephen Watson, managing director, Agency Express, said: “Whilst housing market activity has been marginally lower in July than in June, the level of decline has been smaller than we would have historically expected and certainly the lowest decline from June to July since our index began in 2007.

“I suspect the slowdown in activity is partly due to the time of year as we approach the peak holiday season but also the continued consumer uncertainty caused by a slowing economy. On a more positive note, it’s encouraging to see several regions and cities bucking the trend and generating significant growth figures, which bodes well for the short term.

“I hope that interest rates will remain at their current figure late into 2011 and early 2012, providing a much-needed springboard for the housing market to pick up pace again.”


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