Record fall in house sales

House sales slump EMN-160501-151427001
House sales slump EMN-160501-151427001
  • Market Rasen tops national list for slump in number of homebuyers

Market Rasen is at the top of a national table for the country’s biggest drop in house sales.

Our small market town has seen the biggest fall in house sales in England and Wales, with a 30 per cent decline between the first eight months of 2014 and the same period in 2015.

This is according to data published by the Halifax property sales report, which tracks home sales movements, and is based on Land Registry information.

Market Rasen is among well-known places like London’s Kensington and Chelsea, which have seen a 28 per cent drop in house sales, and Westminster where sales have fallen by 26 per cent.

Seventeen towns saw a fall of 25 per cent or more and seven of the ten towns recording the biggest declines are in London and the South East.

But the manager at Market Rasen’s Walters estate agent, Andrew Smith, thinks there are good reasons behind Market Rasen’s decline in sales.

He said: “Stock levels remained low throughout 2015 so with less houses available volumes of sales across the board dropped.

“Up to 2015, a number of new developments stretching over five to eight years were built and sold by major developers.

“No large developers built in Market Rasen in 2015. Hence the government push to build more across the board.”

And Mr Smith thinks mortgage issues and a lack of major price rises could also be factors.

He said: “Although the property market has improved over 2015 price increases were relatively small and home owners having been through considerable price depreciation since 2008 are hoping for more percentage increase before placing properties on the market.

“Although mortgage availability has improved it still remains difficult especially within a low income earning area such as Market Rasen. It has not helped with closure of three major banks out of four in Market Rasen where advice could be sought.”

Nationally, the number of property sales in the first eight months of 2015 were eight per cent lower than in the same period in 2014, according to the data.

The majority (82 per cent) of towns in this survey saw a decrease in sales between 2014 and 2015.

This was in stark contrast to 2014 when nearly all towns (97 per cent) recorded a rise in sales.

Halifax mortgages director Craig McKinlay said: “Activity in the housing market has generally softened in 2015 with sales in the first eight months of the year down by 8 per cent compared with the same period in 2014.

“While sales have declined in all regions, there is a clear north versus south pattern with sales falling most in southern regions.

“An acute shortage of properties for sale has also added to the constraints on activity.

“Nonetheless, there remain substantial local variations in housing activity with a small number of towns recording significant increases.

“These towns are largely in the north and are where prices are relatively low.”

Two towns recorded a 20 per cent or more increase in sales between 2014 and 2015, with the biggest rises in Salford in the North West (23 per cent) and Pontefract in West Yorkshire (20 per cent).