Sales volumes hit four-year low, as regional transactions plummet by up to 26% in England

Sales volumes declined across all regions of England at the start of the year, the latest official figures suggest.

Data for transactions in January – the latest month for which transactional data is available and revealed in the ONS and Land Registry House Price Index – show sales volumes down by up to a quarter across English regions.

The figures show that volumes fell by the most in London, down 26% year-on-year to 5,958, followed by the east of England and south-east which both saw 21% declines.

The north-east had the smallest drop, down just 8% on January 2016.

Overall, transactions fell 16.6% annually in January to 50,790 in England.

They were down 2% in Scotland to 6,239 and down 2.3% in Wales to 2,762.

Northern Ireland only provides quarterly data, but transactions were down 28.5% in the first three months of the year to 4,379.

Transactions across the UK were at 64,170 in January. This is down from 75,961 last year.

Of course this could all be clouded by last year’s Stamp Duty rush, but the numbers are also below a month before when sales volumes were at 82,351.

Even if you look further back to January 2015, the Land Registry recorded 71,703 transactions and 80,763 in January 2014.

You have to go back to January 2013 for when volumes were last lower for the month, at 52,550.

The data also shows that annual house price growth slowed to 4.1% in March, down from 5.6% in the year to February. Prices also fell 0.6% on a monthly basis to £215,848.

Commenting on the figures, Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, said: “While the speed and severity of the fall in annual price growth – down to its lowest level for more than three years – will alarm some sellers, such national averages mask the wildly different conditions at opposite ends of the market.

“Properties in some regions continue to see double-digit price reductions, while at certain price points in the most in-demand areas, gazumping is back with a vengeance.

“Nevertheless the broader trend is undeniable. East Anglia’s gravity defying, double-digit rates of price inflation are a thing of the past and it has been forced to share its ‘fastest growing region’ crown with the east midlands.

“Even London finds itself in a position it is unaccustomed to – close to the bottom of the pile.

“The chronic shortage of supply is still propping up prices in many areas and mitigating the slowdown. But this snapshot of a slowing market – taken before the election announcement – confirms what many in the industry had feared. For the housing market, the snap election has come at just the wrong time – injecting an unwelcome dose of uncertainty into an already fragile market.

“Nevertheless the lull could be short-lived. If the election delivers a clear result that puts Brexit firmly back on track, the property market could receive a huge boost, freeing up more supply and with greater levels of clarity spurring discretionary buyers into action.”

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One Comment

  1. Shaun77

    Maybe the fall in transactions is directly attributable to the increasing presence of online agents?

    Instruct an online agent and never actually transact!

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