House sales growth at 10-year high


sold signs

Property sales grew at their fastest annual rate in 10 years in the six months to September 2013 as the housing market revival spread across England and Wales, according to a report.

The North, the West Midlands, Wales and London were named by the Lloyds Bank research as the regions with the biggest proportion of "property hot spots". One hundred per cent of towns in these regions recorded a year-on-year increase in home sales.
Across England and Wales, 98% of towns were found to be "hot spots" which saw an annual uplift in sales. A year earlier, just over one quarter (26%) of towns saw a year-on-year increase.

The report, which used Land Registry figures, found there were 396,756 house sales in the six months to September, marking an increase of more than one fifth (21%) on the same period in 2012 and the highest year-on-year increase in a decade.
But property sales were still two fifths (41%) below a market peak of 673,699 sales in the half-year to September 2006 at the height of the boom.

In further evidence that the market pick-up is becoming increasingly widespread beyond London, Lloyds said that regionally there has been a "remarkable consistency" in the growth in property sales.

Both the North West and the East Midlands saw a 23% rise in activity between March and September 2012 and the same period a year later. The North East saw the lowest rise over this period, at 19%.

On a more local level, the East London borough of Newham saw the largest year-on-year increase in home sales, with a 62% rise in the six months to September compared with the same period a year earlier.

Crowborough in East Sussex saw the biggest drop in home sales over the same period, with a 10% fall in transactions.

Marc Page, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank, said: "Low interest rates, improvements in consumer confidence and Government schemes, such as Help to Buy, all appear to have contributed to the rise in home sales."

Here is the percentage of "hot spots" followed by the "cold spots" recorded in each region. Hot spots cover the proportion of towns that recorded an annual increase in sales in the six months to September and cold spots recorded an annual fall:
  • North, 100%, 0%
  • Yorkshire and the Humber, 93% 7%
  • North West, 98% 2%
  • East Midlands, 97% 3%
  • West Midlands, 100%, 0%
  • East Anglia, 95%, 5%
  • Wales, 100%, 0%
  • South West, 98%, 2%
  • South East, 97%, 3%
  • London, 100%, 0%
  • England and Wales, 98%, 2%

Here are the towns which saw the biggest annual percentage increase in property sales in the six months to September, followed by the percentage increase:

1. Newham, London, 62%

2. Redhill, South East, 56%

3. Farnborough, South East, 52%

4. Salford, North West, 51%

5. Walton On Thames, South East, 50%

6. Ware, South East, 49%

7. Hinckley, East Midlands, 48%

8. Chester, North West, 47%

=9. Spalding, East Midlands, 46%

=9. Dorchester, South West, 46%

Here are the towns which saw the biggest annual percentage decrease in property sales in the six months to September, followed by the percentage decrease (only nine towns are included as these are the only ones found to have recorded an annual decline):

1. Crowborough, South East, 10%

=2. Caterham, South East, 9%

=2. Hyde, North West, 9%

4. Dewsbury, Yorkshire and the Humber, 7%

5. Corby, East Midlands, 5%

6. Haywards Heath, South East, 3%

7. Falmouth, South West, 2%

=8. Uckfield, South East, 1%

=8. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber, 1%

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: "With house sales at a 10-year high, it's clear that the housing market has turned a corner. Our efforts to cut the record deficit have kept interest rates low, meaning home ownership is now at its most affordable since 2007.

"But we're determined to help any hard-working aspiring homeowner get on the property ladder, which is why our Help to Buy schemes are already helping 28,000 people buy their own home with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require.

"Leading developers have said they'll build more as a direct response to this increased demand, with housebuilding now growing at its fastest rate for a decade."

© 2014 Press Association
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