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UK house sales down 9% compared with before Brexit vote, analysis finds

House sales in parts of London have dropped by more than 40% since the Brexit vote while some other areas of the UK have seen a boom in transactions, according to analysis.

Using official figures, Yorkshire Building Society compared house sales numbers in the 12 months leading up to the vote to leave the EU in June 2016 with the 12 months leading up to May this year.

Comparing these two periods, it found that the London boroughs of Brent, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster have seen sales fall by 43%, 42% and 39% respectively, according to figures given by the Yorkshire to the PA news agency.

By contrast, sales in Torfaen in South Wales have surged by 45%.

In East Lothian in Scotland transactions are up by 23% and in Knowsley in the north west of England they have increased by 21%.

Several areas of Scotland and Wales have seen transactions increase.

In Scotland, areas seeing a sales pick-up include South Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire.

Parts of Wales seeing an uplift in properties changing hands also include Ceredigion and Blaenau Gwent.

Across the UK generally, Yorkshire Building Society found that house sales have decreased by 9% when comparing the two periods.

London has seen the most severe decline with sales down by 28%, followed by surrounding areas of southern England.

By contrast, in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North East of England, house sales have increased.

The Yorkshire said political uncertainty around Brexit could be a key factor for some when considering major purchases such as buying a home.

But some home buyers may decide that while others are holding back to wait for more certainty, now could be a good time to step in and get a deal.

Nitesh Patel, Yorkshire Building Society’s strategic economist, said: “The housing market has become more stagnant in the UK as a whole since the EU referendum.

“But when we break down the analysis to a regional and local level, the picture becomes more complex.

“Numbers of sales in London, the South East, the East of England and the East and West Midlands are all significantly down in the past 12 months compared with the year before Brexit.”

He said the London market may have been affected particularly by the political uncertainty as the capital tends to attract high numbers of investors and overseas buyers.

Mr Patel continued: “But the drop in sales isn’t solely to do with confidence – high house prices and low levels of supply in London and the South East are also constraining activity.

“The changes to how landlords are taxed and regulatory measures have also contributed to the fall in sales.

“There’s been significant house sales growth in isolated parts of the North, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Explaining what could be behind the increases in house sales, Mr Patel said increases in real wages and record levels of people in full-time employment have helped making buying a home generally more affordable.

Initiatives to support those wanting to get on to the property ladder, such as Help to Buy and abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers have also helped to boost sales, he said.

Mr Patel said: “It should be noted that consumer confidence is a key factor in buying big ticket items
such as homes and this downturn is likely to be a temporary phenomenon which will continue while uncertainty around Brexit exists.”

Here are the top 10 local authorities with the biggest falls in house sales when comparing the 12 months to June 2016 with the 12 months to May 2019, according to Yorkshire Building Society:

  1. Brent, London, minus 43%
  2. Kensington and Chelsea, London, minus 42%
  3. City of Westminster, London, minus 39%
  4. Slough, South East, minus 37%
  5. Camden, London, minus 36%
    =6. Enfield, London, minus 35%
    =6. Hounslow, London, minus 35%
    =8. Watford, East of England, minus 33%
    =8. Lambeth, London, minus 33%
  6. Redbridge, London, minus 32%

Here are the top 10 local authorities with the biggest increases in house sales when comparing the 12 months to June 2016 with the 12 months to May 2019, according to Yorkshire Building Society:

  1. Torfaen, Wales, 45%
  2. East Lothian, Scotland, 23%
  3. Knowsley, North West, 21%
  4. Ceredigion, Wales, 20%
  5. South Lanarkshire, Scotland, 19%
  6. Blaenau Gwent, Wales, 18%
  7. Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, 17%
  8. North Ayrshire, Scotland, 16%
    =9. Renfrewshire, Scotland, 15%
    =9. Scottish Borders, Scotland, 15%

And here are the changes in house sales across the UK’s regions and nations, comparing the 12 months to June 2016 with the 12 months to May 2019, according to Yorkshire Building Society:
– North East, 1%
– North West, minus 2%
– Yorkshire and the Humber, minus 1%
– West Midlands, minus 7%
– East Midlands, minus 8%
– East of England, minus 18%
– London, minus 28%
– South East, minus 18%
– South West, minus 13%
– Wales, 2%
– Scotland, 4%
– Northern Ireland, 1%

By Vicky Shaw

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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UK house sales stronger than normal in August – Rightmove

August, normally a quiet month for Britain’s property market, has seen a surge in sales, possibly due to buyers seeking to conclude transactions before the country leaves the European Union on Oct. 31, property website Rightmove said on Monday.

Rightmove said sales in the August period, which cover the four weeks to Aug. 10, were 6.1% higher than a year earlier and their strongest for the month since 2015, bucking a generally sluggish trend since June 2016’s referendum on leaving the European Union.

“While the end of October Brexit outcome remains uncertain, more buyers are now going for the certainty of doing a deal, with some having perhaps hesitated earlier in the year,” Rightmove director Miles Shipside said.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to take Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31, even if that means leaving without a transition deal – something most economists think will cause major disruption to businesses and overseas trade.

But British consumers have largely shrugged off Brexit worries so far, bolstered by a strong labour market and the fastest increases in wages in 11 years, in contrast to businesses, which have held back from making major investments.

House price inflation has slowed since June 2016, according to official figures. But this has largely been driven by price falls in London and surrounding areas, which have been most affected by higher property taxes on expensive housing and fears of post-Brexit job losses in the financial services sector.

Rightmove said asking prices on its website were down 1.0% on the previous month – a smaller fall than normal for August, when many buyers are away on holiday – while prices were 1.2% higher than a year earlier.

Sales rose fastest in northeast and eastern England, and the biggest fall in asking prices was in southeast England excluding London.

Rightmove based its data on more than 130,000 prices collected between July 7 and Aug. 10 from its website, which it says advertises 90% of residential property on sale in Britain.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Source: UK Reuters

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UK house sales plummet in June, held back by Brexit ‘ball and chain’

House sales crashed 16.5 per cent in June, as the property market took a “wait-and-see” attitude to transactions amid Brexit uncertainty.

Monthly HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures showed British residential property sales fell to 84,490, more than one-sixth down on the same period last year.

The figure represents a 9.6 per cent monthly drop between May and June this year.

Analysts were quick to point out the figures are reported with several months’ lag, meaning the transactions relayed are those accepted in March.

Benham and Reeves director Marc von Grundherr said: “With many of us, perhaps foolishly, believing we would be exiting the EU at the end of March, it stands to reason that the vast majority of buyers may have refrained from a sale until this event had passed.

“Therefore any dip in transactions should be viewed as a momentary stutter and with many other market indicators suggesting a return to form and growing levels of buyer demand over the last few months, we should start to see the number of properties being sold climb from here on in.”

Non-residential transactions were also down 7.2 per cent month-on-month.

‘A fragile market landscape’
Springbok Properties founder Shepherd Ncube added: “A lull in transactions will come as a cause for concern in what is currently a rather fragile market landscape, however, the broader picture simply doesn’t suggest a market that is on its knees.

“Homebuyer appetite is alive and well and while many may not want to fill up on bread until the main course of Brexit is finally served, we are on course to see a healthy level of properties transact this year regardless.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, added: “Sales volumes have walked off a cliff, crashing hard as the Brexit deadlock becomes the ball and chain fixing the housing market to the spot.

“What you’re seeing is a wait-and-see attitude among sellers and many buyers becoming endemic.”

By Alex Daniel

Source: City AM

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Million-pound UK house sales hit a new high in 2017 – but London was not the region with the fastest growth

The number of properties which sold for more than a million pounds hit a record high last year, according to Lloyds Bank Private Banking – but London was not the region with the highest growth.

Instead, Yorkshire and the Humber saw the sale of million-pound homes rocket by 60 per cent compared to the year before, while the capital experienced a mere one per cent climb.

Across the whole country, the number climbed by five per cent as 14,474 homes worth more than a million pounds were sold.

“As always, the highest number of transactions took place in the capital last year. However growth in London has started to slow for million pound properties,” said Louise Santaana, head of UK wealth lending at Lloyds Banking Group.

“Overseas investors represent a good share of this end of the London market and some may be holding off buying, pending further clarity over Brexit.”

She added that 2018 would be an “interesting year” for the million-pound property market, as government consultation on ways to improve the house-buying process could make “high-end homeowners more empowered to engage in property transactions”.

But counteracting this could be the high cost of stamp duty, especially for people looking to invest in property rather than buying somewhere to live.

The East Midlands was the only place to see lower numbers of million-pound homes sold last year, with a 23 per cent drop to just 72 transactions.

Source: City A.M.