Home sales across England and Wales have tumbled by over a third compared with transaction levels at the end of the housing boom in 2006. Last year, home sales were well below the one million mark, at 848,857.
Home Sales Tumble by a Third Since Housing Boom
The latest Land Registry figure is 7% lower than in 2015 and 34% lower than after the housing boom in 2006.
A new Lloyds Bank report suggests that homeowners may not be moving due to a lack of equity for a deposit or not finding the right location. Surprisingly, there is no mention of higher Stamp Duty rates or stricter mortgage lending requirements.
All regions of England and Wales experienced a decline in homes sales in 2016 compared with 2015, with the greatest falls seen in Greater London – down by 18% annually to 94,000 – and the South East – down by 10% to 203,923.
Home sales in London and the South East were down by 44% and 33% on the period after the housing boom respectively.
Both the East and West Midlands fared the best annually, with just a 1% decrease to 74,547 and 80,921 respectively, followed by the North West, where there was a 2% drop to 96,552.
However, property transactions have picked up compared with five years ago, when the market was deep in recession, with the number of home sales in England and Wales up by 29% on 2011, buoyed by a 23% rise in the South East and 46% increase in the North West.
Sales in Greater London have stood still over the past five years, however, up by just 2%.
The Mortgage Director at Lloyds Bank, Andy Mason, comments: “The recovery in the housing market has stumbled during the past year, with sales declining in all regions.
“Despite record low interest rates and Government schemes such as Help to Buy, sales remain significantly below the levels seen at the height of the last housing boom.”
He explains: “The decrease in the amount of people moving home could be caused by movers not being able to find the right home in the right location, or those who don’t have enough equity in their current home to put down as a large enough deposit for their next mortgage.
“Add to this that the average cost of moving home is close to £11,000, with costs in London over £31,000, and these factors make it more challenging for those looking to move home.”