Residential sales and prices pick up in London and across the country

Residential sales volumes and prices picked up across the country in Q3 2017 according to just released Land Registry data, analysed by London Central Portfolio in conjunction with independent analysts Acadata. Both England and Wales and London showed an improving picture.

According to the analysis, 229,373 quarterly sales took place in England and Wales in Q3, representing an 8.3% increase over the previous quarter. Average prices, meanwhile, reached £295,279, their highest level on record, following a 0.9% quarterly increase and a 3.9% increase over the previous year.

Data for London also pointed to stabilisation after a period of notable volatility. Whilst a 2.8% quarterly decline in average prices was recorded, prices are 8.3% higher than a year ago, standing at £619,203.

Transactions, which had seen consistent year on year double digit falls since ARSD was introduced in Q2 2016 until Q1 2017, also showed a marked improvement. Volumes were up 7.5% on a quarterly basis to 23,737, following a slight increase of 1.15% in the previous quarter.

The statistics also reveal an interesting shift in dynamics in London from flats towards houses, suggesting that higher value buyers may be returning to the market. Compared with Q3 2016, 20% more houses were purchased, with semi-detached properties being the most popular, showing a 9% increase, followed by detached houses at 8%. Flats, on the other hand, saw an 8% decline in sales.

Naomi Heaton, CEO of London Central Portfolio, comments:

“The latest data from Land Registry indicates a more positive outlook, both for London and across the country, following a period of slow growth as tax changes, Brexit and domestic issues have impacted general sentiment. This improving picture in both sales volumes and prices is certainly good news for homeowners, particularly when other indices, such as Halifax, are reporting the weakest consumer sentiment since 2012.

“Turning to London, it is encouraging to see the market pick up following unusual volatility over the last two years in the face of penal tax changes. The increase in semi-detached and detached house sales indicates that the suburbs of London may be making a recovery, having been held back since the introduction of graduated Stamp Duty and the tightening of mortgage lending criteria. The return of higher value buyers to the market is also evidenced in Prime Central London where LCP has seen a trebling of its ‘home’ buying clients, acquiring in prestigious areas like Regent’s Park and Knightsbridge.

“Whilst the latest outlook for London and England and Wales is encouraging, rumours of further tax changes in next week’s Budget could make or break any conspicuous recovery. The Chancellor should take heed of the delicate position of the market where more interference may tip the scales back in the other direction.”