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Housing sales slump in eight out of 10 towns

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

Sales of homes in 2016 were 7% lower than the previous year, according to the latest research from Lloyds Bank. It said there were 848,857 home sales in England & Wales in 2016, compared to 915,096 in the previous year. 

The majority (82%) of towns in the bank’s survey saw a decrease in sales between 2015 and 2016, and in Greater London all boroughs experienced a fall in sales. 

The sales slump also affected all UK regions, with the largest falls in Greater London (-18%) and the South East (-10%). Both East and West Midlands fared the best with just a one percent decline, followed by North West (-2%). 

First-time buyer boost

Despite the drop in sales, the first-time buyer housing is growing steadily, accounting for nearly half of all house purchases financed with a mortgage in 2016. This compares to just over a third (36%) in 2006.

Andy Mason, mortgage director at Lloyds Bank, said: “The decrease in the amount of people moving home could be caused by movers not being able to find the right home, in the right location or those who don’t have enough equity in their current home to put down as a large enough deposit for their next mortgage.

“Add to this that the average cost of moving home is close to £11,000, with costs in London over £31,000 and these factors make it more challenging for those looking to move home.”

Rare risers

Nearly one in five (18%) local markets defied the slump to record a rise in home sales between 2015 and 2016. 

Retford in the East Midlands saw home sales increase by 15% followed by Cannock in the West Midlands (12%). 

There was a general North-South divide, as over 80% of the towns that saw a rise in home sales in 2016 are in the North.