Property sales up 21%
Date online: 20/02/2015
There has been a considerable improvement in sales since the market reached the depth of its recession in 2009. Sales in the first ten months of 2014 were 60% higher than in the same period in 2009. Nonetheless, sales remained more than a quarter below the levels achieved at the height of the boom in 2007.
All regions saw a rise in sales in 2014 with the biggest increases compared with 2013 in the East Midlands, West Midlands (25%) and the North West. The smallest rise was in Greater London. This is consistent with house price inflation where it is clear that the market has slowed sharply in the capital since last summer.
In contrast, London has recorded the biggest pick-up in sales over the past five years as a whole with a 74% gain between 2009 and 2014. All regions have seen rises of at least 50% over this period with the smallest rises in East Anglia (51%), the North (52%) and the South West (52%).
Sales in all regions, however, remain lower than 2007 levels with transactions in the northern regions furthest below: the North (-41%), the North West (-37%), Yorkshire & Humber (-35%). The strongest recoveries have been in southern England: the South West (-19%), East Anglia (-20%) and the South East (-22%).
Nearly all towns see a rise in housing activity in 2014
The overwhelming majority of towns in this survey – 97% - saw an increase in sales between 2013 and 2014. The majority of regions recorded an increase in all towns. London, however, experienced a decline in sales in a fifth (22%) of its boroughs. In contrast, all towns in the country saw a decline in sales in 2008.
Andy Hulme, Mortgages Director at Lloyds Bank, comments: "The recovery in the housing market continued in 2014 with sales rising further in almost all areas of the country. Low interest rates, improvements in the UK economy and Government schemes, such as Help to Buy, all appear to have contributed to the rise in home sales. Despite these improvements, sales both nationally and regionally are still significantly below their pre-recession levels.
There is a clear north versus south pattern to the housing market recovery with sales closer to their 2007 levels in the south. Indeed, a small number of towns recorded higher sales last year than seven years earlier, but sales remained much lower than 2007 levels in most areas."
Daventry and Alfreton in the East Midlands record biggest rises in home sales in 2014
Four towns recorded a 50% or more increase in sales between 2013 and 2014 with the biggest rises in Daventry (56%) and Alfreton (53%). Both towns are in the East Midlands with the region accounting for four of the ten towns recording the largest sales rises. [Table 3]
Amersham in Buckinghamshire saw the biggest fall in sales with an 11% decline between the first ten months of 2013 and the same period in 2014.
Ealing was the worst performing London borough with a 10% decline. Seven London boroughs recorded a fall in sales. Overall, 13 towns (including London boroughs) experienced a drop in sales between 2013 and 2014.
Sales are above 2007 levels in 12 towns
Whilst sales nationally remain well below 2007 levels, sales in a small minority of towns (12 in total) in 2014 were above pre-recession levels. Home sales in Biggleswade in Bedfordshire are the highest in relation to 2007, at 19% above. Sales in two Oxfordshire towns – Wallingford (14%) and Didcot (12%) – and St Neots in Cambridgeshire (12%) are the next highest.
Sales remain significantly below 2007 levels in the vast majority of towns. The ten towns where sales in 2014 were lowest in relation to 2007 are all in the north of England. Home sales in Nelson in Lancashire last year were almost two-thirds lower than in 2007 (-63%); the lowest level in relation to seven years’ ago.