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Revealed: why house sales are going down every year

Institute of Fiscal Studies charts rising prices over past 20 years and their drastic effect in home ownership in the UK.

Nigel Lewis

house saleAgents who wonder why the number of house sales continues to decline every year, and why it’s harder to find stock and buyers need ponder no more.

The answer is that young middle-class buyers has been all but wiped out from the property market by fast-rising house prices over the past twenty years.

Or at least that what is being claimed by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The venerable organisation has crunched the figures and says that in 1995 65% of those between 25 and 34 years old in the middle 20% income bracket owned their own home, a figure that today is just 27%.

The key reason for this, the IFW says, is that house prices have risen too fast.

The mean price for a property in the UK has soared by 152% since 1995 when adjusted for inflation while the average family income has barely caught up, rising by just 22% over the same period.

This has helped the average income to house price ratio to double from four to eight times, while for 38% of first time buyers the homes they want to buy are ten times their income, up from 9% of FTBs in 1995.

“This huge increase in the number of young people unable to buy their own home means that more are renting and for longer periods,” says David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association (pictured, left).

“This shows the folly of government policy imposing higher taxes to deter investment in new homes to rent.

“The scale of the housing crisis demands a complete re-think from government with policies needed to support investment in homes to rent to meet the increasing demand.”

Figures from the Land Registry show that that the number of homes sold during October 2017 was 63,603, down from 84,927 during the same month in 2014.
The transaction figures for London are even more startling – in October 2013 nearly 11,000 were sold in the capital, while last year that figures stood at 6,264.

Read more about the most recent house sales data.

February 16, 2018

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