June 2018

5 min read

Mini price recovery can't hide dire sales volumes*

There's no doubting that the Land Registry's latest monthly housing figures for England and Wales and London point to a mini-recovery in price terms, but any optimism associated with this must be tempered with an examination of sales volumes, which continue to fall at an alarming rate.

At £238,558, (for April, the latest month's available figures) England and Wales are experiencing their highest average property prices ever. This is an increase by 1.1. month-on-month, but the year-on-year growth percentage, at 3.7%, is the lowest it's been since September 2013.

Sales volumes (for February, the latest month's available figures), at 54,287, were down month-on-month for the sixth consecutive month and down year-on-year for the third consecutive month.

These were the lowest volumes posted since April 2013 (52,528).

Land-Registry House Price Index Figures

London falls back in step

London also appeared to experience a mini-price recovery in April, with prices rising to £484,584, a 2.4% growth month-on-month. This is the highest monthly growth rate since July 2015 (2.8%). Year-on-year growth was also up 1%. Prices however are still below their peak of July 2017 (£484,679 ).

The sales volumes however once again are sobering, to say the least. At 5,411, volumes have been down month-on-month for the last 5 months out of 6 and down year-on-year for the last 6 months.

London's sales volumes are the lowest since February 2009 (3,251).

New! SAM's Regional Housing Market Reports

SAM Conveyancing has launched a new feature where we examine various locations' housing markets and look at the ongoing housing scene in that area in terms of up-to-date figures.

Our most recent additions are reports for (click to view):

Mortgages - mixed news

Mortgages in May were slightly up month-on-month, by 2.5%, to 64,526 according to the Bank of England. However there was a year-on-year fall of 2.1% and this was a year-on-year fall for the eighth month in a row.

Buy to Let mortgages rise

The Bank's figures also revealed that the buy to let mortgage sector grew, taking up some 14.1% of new loans, however the number of mortgages agreed fell to a 2-year low.

New criticism of buy to let came from Tory think tank Onward, which calculated that buy to let landlords have stopped some 2.2 million families from becoming home owners.

For remortgage information and lots more, please read on...

BOMAD contributions falling

A leading financial services group produced figures demonstrating that family contributions towards home buying deposits were falling in terms of average sums gifted.

The figures estimated that the average contribution this year was £18,000, down £4,000 or 17% in the past 12 months. Total lending is down from a high of £6.5 billion in 2017.

For buyers in the Northeast, the figure has more than halved, from £24,200 last year to £12,000 this year. In the Southwest it's fallen from £30,000 to £19,300.

London bucks the trend

For London, however, the figure has actually slightly increased, from £29,400 to £30,600. In fact more than 40% of buyers in the capital had financial help from family in buying their dwellings.

How important is the Bank of Mum and Dad?

Despite the declines overall in average contribution sizes, it has been estimated that 1/4 of all residential housing market purchases rely on parental cash, securing property worth a huge £82 billion.

BOMAD has contributed some £5.7 billion in funds from the beginning of 2018 to this point, with some 316,600 buyers getting help from their family, which was up 19,000 from 2017.

Remortgages up in May

Continuing the trend we've observed for some months, remortgages were up 7.2% month-on-month for May and 15.8% up year-on-year. This was the fifth month in a row where year-on-year figures showed a rise.

We still infer that the health of the remortgage market compared to the mortgage market, when sales volumes are considered as well, shows that people are continuing to stay put and to carry out home improvements, if anything rather than moving. Certainly market prices in general are still very high where 'trading up' is concerned. The National Association of Estate Agents' monthly housing market report evidenced this further by its figures showing an increase in the number of properties which are sold for below asking price, which was already a very large percentage.

Mayor of London launches online portal for affordable housing

Mayor Khan is urging Londoners to visit london.gov.uk/homes (click to visit London's online portal for affordable housing) to sign up for free and register an account, through which they can:
  • receive email alerts for the latest properties in their area;
  • register their interest in homes;
  • check their eligibility;
  • book viewings; and
  • receive an online financial affordability assessment.

NAEA: more homes being sold for less than asking price

In March this year, the NAEA recorded the highest percentage of homes selling for less than asking price since records began, but this fell back in April. In May, it was back up to the levels seen in March, with 86% of properties selling for less than asking price.

In line with this, only eight per cent of properties sold at original asking price, which the NAEA said showed a market swing back in the favour of buyers.

The link between low sales volumes and high asking prices still remains.

Andrew Boast, co-founder of SAM Conveyancing, said:

" The mini-recovery in house prices that we're seeing will be welcomed by estate agents and other housing market professionals. The elephant in the room that just doesn't want to go is the sales volumes position however.

" An additional worry is the decline in the sums which family members feel able to contribute towards home purchases. It's as if everyone is feeling the pinch. Other headwinds are the traditional summer slow-down in the property market and the uncertainty over how Brexit is going to play out..

" We welcome Mayor Khan's new affordable housing portal initiative. Londoners are a supportive community but if there is to be any sort of thriving first time buyer market in the capital, new buyers need all the help they can get. "

* all figures quoted are the most recent from the Land Registry unless otherwise stated.

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April 2018

April 2018

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Guildford's Housing Prices Still On the March!


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