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Property sales level out after summer of slump

Government figures show October house sales increased across UK

Nigel Lewis

ons logoThe number of property sales in the UK increased by one percent between September and October this year, latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show.

But compared to October last year, the volume of house sales dropped by 8% across the UK.

London is taking the brunt of the slow down. Sales there fell by 39.3% latest figures from August reveal, while in England volumes dropped by 20.3% compared to the year before. This is an improvement on July’s figures, when house sales were down by 28.1% year-on-year.

Wales also experienced lower sales volumes, down by 11.6%.

The figures reflect other market indicators including lower levels of lending, fewer first time buyers as well as fewer buy-to-let investors around following the April Stamp Duty change.

“As a result of Brexit, earlier this year we found one in five [people] were less likely to sell their home. Now, with a lack of willing buyers, there has clearly been a shift from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market,” says Stephen Jury, Spokesperson for Plentific.com.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors says the supply of homes coming on to the market remains tight, which is helping keep house prices buoyant. The October data for the UK reveals that prices increased by 6.9%, an increase of 0.1% since September. But despite the drops in sales within London, prices there are 7.7% higher.

“On the front line, the mood is of cautious optimism,” says Jonothan Hopper, MD of Garrington Property Finders (pictured). “Fired by Britain’s seemingly flame-proof economic fundamentals and bargain interest rates, buyer demand is recovering well.

“Prices are being supported by the acute shortage of supply, but pragmatic sellers are often willing to trim prices to seal a deal before the Christmas shutdown.”

December 13, 2016

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