£1m plus residential property sales jump by over a third

£1m plus residential property sales jump by over a third


The number of properties sold in England and Wales for over £1 million in June 2012 increased by 35 per cent - from 478 to 647 - in June 2011, the latest Market Trend Data from the Land Registry has revealed.

The August data from the Land Registry’s flagship House Price Index also showed an annual price increase of 0.7 per cent, taking the average property value in England and Wales to £163,376. However, according to the index, there is no monthly change from July to August. 


Yet the most up-to-date figures available show that during June 2012 the number of completed house sales in England and Wales decreased by 3 per cent to 56,077, compared with 57,702 in June 2011.


The index further confirmed that over 65,400 residential properties in England and Wales were lodged for Land Registry registration during August. 


Commenting on the figures, David Newnes, Director of LSL Property Services, observed that whilst August was far from a bumper month for the housing market, it is clear that the Olympics did not derail buyer activity. 


He said: “Prices and activity are holding up pretty well in the face of choppy economic waters. However, any substantial recovery will be closely tied to the ability of banks to get adequate and affordable funding to the frustrated buyers that really need it.


"There have been welcome signs that more high LTV products are starting to become available, and the Bank of England’s latest credit conditions survey suggests banks have a healthy appetite to boost their lending to those with smaller deposits in the coming quarter. Yet it’s crucial that this goes hand in hand with a relaxing the stringent lending criteria at present, which play a key role in limiting the number of buyers able to access the higher LTV deals that are on the market.”  


Paul Hunt, Managing Director of Phoebus Software, believes that the housing market is currently stagnant and that we won’t see any real jump in transaction levels and house prices until there is more focus on tackling the lack of first time buyers. 


He added: “Lenders are offering great rates and attractive mortgage packages, but there needs to be greater focus on innovative ways to help new buyers overcome the deposit hurdle. The Funding for Lending scheme could be the trigger we need to stimulate further activity in the vital lower tiers of the market - by making more cheap funding available for mortgages, lenders will eventually start to offer better rates on 90 – 95 per cent loans."


Richard Sexton, Director of e.surv chartered surveyors, believes the positivity surrounding the housing market is real, albeit cautious, as the mortgage market slowly recovers with first-time buyer lending beginning to increase. 


He said: “House sales have increased marginally thanks to improving mortgage lending, and have dragged annual prices up on their coat tails. These are tentative steps on what will be long road to recovery. It will be littered with obstacles, not least the huge roadblock that the Eurozone crisis represents.


"The Funding for Lending Scheme has palpably improved banks capacity to lend, particularly to first-time buyers. The scheme should boost mortgage lending over the next six months and help counteract the negative impact of an economy which can’t get off the ground.”


Experiencing the highest increase in average property value over the last 12 months is London, with a movement of five per cent; yet the North East experienced the greatest monthly rise, at 0.8 per cent. 


Richard added: “London’s housing market is in overdrive. The catalyst heating up the capital’s market is foreign buyers, who have swooped in to snap up property that ordinary Londoners can’t afford. The average loan-to-value for house purchase loans in London is three per cent below the national average – a sure sign that it is wealthier buyers with lots of equity who are dominating the market.”


The greatest fall in prices was in Wales, where the annual and monthly decreases were 3.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively. 


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