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House sales fell across two thirds of England and Wales in 2018

Analysis by modular homes builder of Land Registry figures suggests UK is in grip of "endemic transaction crisis" despite the government's Help to Buy scheme.

Nigel Lewis

The number of house sales fell in two thirds of local authority areas within England and Wales last year and across the UK the number of houses sold dropped by 2.3%.

These claims have been made following analysis of Land Registry data by modular homes firm Project Etopia. It says that sales rose in only 133 local authority areas and then only by 3.5% on average last year, compared to the year before.

The areas worst hit by the slump in property sales and where reductions hit double-digit figures include Eastbourne, Bedford, Runnymede, Gosport, Brighton, Wellingborough and Merthyr Tydfil. The three hardest hit year-on-year last year were Cambridge (-16%), Newcastle-under-Lyme (-16.2%) and Stevenage (-27.5%).

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

“It might not be immediately obvious what transaction levels have to do with the housing crisis, but the answer is a great deal,” says Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia (left).

“Lack of housing stock means we’re on a merry-go-round of gyrating house prices in this country [and] 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.”

But it’s not all bad news; sales picked up dramatically in several areas including in Chorley, Hull and Lincoln, all of which experienced house sales rising by more than 10% year-on-year.






January 4, 2019

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