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Shocking scale of property sales slump revealed

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

The level of property transactions are still nowhere near pre-crash levels, according to new research

A decade on from the global financial crisis, property sales in the UK have still not recovered to anywhere close to pre-2008 levels, said HouseSimple.com, after it analysed Land Registry transaction data.

The online estate agent ranked every month since January 1995 in order of highest to lowest for completed property sales – and only one month since the financial crisis made the top 100.

That was March 2016, when there were 56,183 completed property transactions registered by the Land Registry. The best month was May 2002 with 61,904 completed sales.

The research reveals that the average number of properties sold in a single month pre-2008 – before the financial crash – is almost two-thirds higher (62.4%) than the average number of completed sales since the crisis.

Between January 1995 and December 2007, there were on average 43,898 completed property transactions recorded each month, compared to just 27,023 between January 2008 and present day.

Post credit-crunch lows

The three lowest months for property sales since January 1995, when Land Registry records began, were the first three months of 2009, less than six months after Lehman Brothers collapsed, and the financial crash started in earnest.

The lowest ever month for completed property sales was January 2009, when the Land Registry recorded just 11,740 sales.

In London only 3,251 properties sales completed in February 2009, compared to 18,420 in July 1999.

Sam Mitchell, CEO of HouseSimple.com said: “These figures show the lasting impact the global financial crisis has had on the UK property market. Although monthly numbers have recovered, and are more than twice the level they were in 2009, completed transactions still appear extremely low. For example, in September 2017, there were 25,477 completed transactions, more than 18,000 less than average monthly sales pre-2008.

“It is worth bearing in mind that leading up to the financial crisis in 2008, we were seeing a country-wide, and unsustainable buying frenzy. Since the crash, and post-2009 when pretty much every UK town and city saw property transactions hit rock bottom, you could say that many regional property markets have been operating at a level that is more sustainable.”