House sales in ‘structural decline’ says Barclays

High profile City investment analyst working for banks says sales numbers peaked in 1989.

A city analyst working for Barclays believes house sales are in ‘structural decline’ in the UK.

The comments by Jon Bell (pictured, below) come in a note sent to City investors yesterday in which he says the number of homes sold in the UK peaked in 1989 and have been declining ever since.

Reason for the decline, the equity analyst says, include the increased number of homes owned by buy-to-let landlords, who tend to buy and sell properties less often than home owners.

Bell points out that government’s own figures highlight how private home ownership has barely changed since the early 1990s while the extra housing stock made available since then has been swallowed up by private landlords.

Bell also says the higher cost of Stamp Duty, a lack of new public and private housing and the UK’s ageing population, who tend to move less often than younger families, is also depressing sales.

Bell, who works at the high street bank’s investment banking arm in the City, also proffers some more surprising reasons for the UK’s declining number of house sales.

He says the government Help to Buy scheme for new homes is helping younger buyers purchase larger homes, and that they then later move home less frequently.

Also, says Bell, many people’s poor credit history is hampering many younger people get on the property ladder because they can’t get mortgages.

Housing survey

His comments reflect the recent English Housing Survey, which found that between 2015 and 2016 the number of private or social renters who aspire to buy their own home one day remained the same.

Among private renters, 59% said they wanted to own one day, while 27% of social renters had the same aspiration. Some 25% of private renters hoped to buy their first home in the next two years, the survey showed.



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