Tag Archives: sales

UK housing market slows after buy let rush in March, latest index shows

UK house prices increased by 0.2% in April but annual house price growth has slowed to 4.9%, down from 5.7% the month before, the latest index figures show. This takes the average price of a home to £202,436 with the slowing of activity not a surprise due to increased market growth in March due to stamp duty changes, according to the index report from the Nationwide. Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said that the slowdown returns the annual pace of house price growth to the fairly narrow range between 3% and 5% that had been prevailing since the summer of 2015. ‘It may be that the surge in house purchase activity resulting from the increase in stamp duty on second homes provided a temporary boost to prices in March. However, it is possible that the recent pattern of strong employment growth, rising real earnings, low borrowing costs and constrained supply will tilt the demand/supply balance in favour of sellers and exert upward pressure on price growth once again in the quarters ahead,’ he explained. He pointed out that there were 165,400 transactions in March, an all-time high, some 11% higher than the previous peak of 149,000 recorded in January 2007 and estimates from the Council of Mortgage Lenders suggests that mortgage lending also rose sharply, to almost £26 billion in March, up 43% from the £18 billion recorded in February. ‘If confirmed by Bank of England data later this week, this would suggest a strong outcome, up nearly 60% year on year and also well above recent highs of £22 billion per month recorded in early 2015, though still well below the all-time high of £34.9 billion recorded in June 2007,’ Gardner said. ‘The increase in mortgage lending is likely to have been driven by a sharp increase in buy to let investors bringing forward their purchases before the stamp duty changes took effect. Buy to let has accounted for an unusually high share of lending in recent months, at around 19% of lending in the three months to February, but the strength of activity suggests its share could surpass 25% in March,’ he explained. ‘Viewing the transactions and mortgage lending data together suggests that, while buy to let lending is likely to have risen strongly in March, a large proportion of the boost to house purchase activity came from cash buyers,’ he added. Gardner also pointed out that cash purchasers have become a more significant part of the market since the financial crisis, accounting for around 35% of all transactions since 2008 compared with around 25% in 2006/20007. ‘Cash investors would have also been better placed to buy properties in the relatively short period of time between the stamp duty announcement at the November Autumn Statement and the implementation on 01 April,’ he added. But a continued limited supply of properties could mean that the market could still be lively in the coming months, according to Michelle Grant, investment director of Grant… Continue reading

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Sales up strongly in Scotland but prices down 8.4% year on year

Residential property sales in Scotland increased by 18.2% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period a year ago, the latest official data shows. The figures from the Registers of Scotland also show that prices are down by 8.4% compared to the previous year, bringing the average price to £159,198. A total of 19,802 properties changed hands between January and March, the highest volume of sales for these months since 2007/2008 and the total value of sales across Scotland increased by 8.3% compared to the previous year to just over £3.15 billion. ‘We've seen a sustained increase in the volume of sales throughout the 2015/2016 financial year,’ said Registers of Scotland director of commercial services, Kenny Crawford. ‘This time last year, we saw a spike in house prices, with an increase in the number of high value property sales. By comparison, this year has seen an increase in the volume of lower value properties being sold, which may account for this year's lower average price. Future sales statistics will determine whether this is a one-off decrease, or whether this is a trend that will continue,’ he added. The city of Edinburgh was the largest market, with sales of over £554.6 million for the quarter, up 3.3 while Midlothian recorded the highest increase in value, with sales of over £63 million, an increase of 56.5% compared with the same quarter last year. Aberdeen City showed the largest decrease in market value, down 22.7% to £162.7 million. The highest percentage rise in the volume of sales was in Midlothian, with an annual increase of 48% and Edinburgh recorded the highest volume with growth of 22.4% compared to the same quarter the previous year. The largest percentage fall in volume of sales was in East Renfrewshire, down 14.5%. East Renfrewshire also recorded the highest average property price at £222,303 but this was down 7.9% on last year. The largest percentage rise was seen in North Lanarkshire, where the average property price rose 6.6% to £116,738. The highest percentage fall was recorded in East Lothian, with an average price of £207,276, a fall of 16.5% on last year. All property types showed an increase in sales volumes, with flats showing the biggest increase at 24.2%. They also all showed a decrease in average price this quarter, with detached properties showing the biggest decrease, down 11.6% to £236,249. Semi-detached, terraced, and flatted properties showed price decreases of 8.5%, 10.5% and 7.4% respectively. According to Michelle Grant, investment director at Grant Property, the increase in volume sales reflects what the firm is seeing on the ground. ‘Our buyers are experiencing high levels of competition when trying to secure prime city centre properties on behalf of investors,’ she said. ‘In Glasgow we are bidding against on average eight people for each property and in Edinburgh it can be as high as 20. We have also recently seen properties selling for as much as 15% over… Continue reading

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Sales of residential land in Australia falls as prices rise

Residential building land in Australia has increased in price but availability is falling, making it more and more difficult for builders to provide affordable housing, it is claimed. In the last quarter of 2015 the number of residential lot sales across Australia fell by 1.6% while the median lot prices increasing by 5.2% to $234,600, according to the latest edition of the HIA-CoreLogic RP Data residential land report. Land supply pressures were more pronounced in the capital cities, with lot sales falling by 2.3% during the quarter and the median lot price rising by some 6.6%. A breakdown of the figures show that vacant residential land sales are estimated to have fallen in Sydney by 22.3%, in Brisbane by 20.1% and in Perth by 7.2%. Elsewhere, the level of sales increased. In Melbourne sales were up by 13.2%, in Adelaide by 27.5% and in Hobart by 7.2%. ‘Conditions in the residential land market are making it more and more difficult to deliver the new housing stock that Australia needs. Once again, we’ve had another quarter of dwindling land lot sales and pretty stiff price increases which is evidence of insufficient supply,’ said Shane Garrett, HIA senior economist. ‘We need much greater emphasis on the delivery of new residential land supply involving better models for infrastructure delivery and a real sense of urgency in the planning process,’ he pointed out. ‘Housing costs are one of the biggest components of most households’ budgets and needlessly jacking land prices up through inaction on supply will make for real hardship over the long term,’ Garrett added. CoreLogic RP Data research director Tim Lawless, pointed out that the number of vacant land sales has fallen by 14% in 2015. ‘While the fall in vacant land transactions is substantial at a national level, the drop has been more severe across the capital cities where housing demand is the highest. Land sales were down 19% compared to the same quarter a year ago across the combined capitals,’ he said. ‘If the drop in land transactions was attributable to lower demand we would expect a commensurate fall in selling price. In fact the opposite is true; land prices are rising in the context of lower sales which suggests a supply shortage is at play,’ he added. ‘The ongoing challenge for state governments is to ensure a sufficient release of residential land that is located in desirable locations and well connected by transport infrastructure to major working centres and necessary amenities like schools, health care and retail precincts,’ he concluded. Continue reading

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