Financial Reporter: Land Registry
Thu 30 May 2013
The latest Market Trend Data from the Land Registry was released today, showing that April house prices were 0.4% higher than those of March, with the average house in England and Wales now 161,458.The annual change shows an increase of 0.7 per cent. Repossession volumes decreased by 28 per cent in February 2013 to 1,293 compared with 1,788 in February 2012.Over 54,450 residential properties in England and Wales lodged for registration in April ranging from 10,000 to 14.5 million.
The region in England and Wales which experiencedthe greatest increase in its average property value over the last 12 months is London with a movement of 6.2 percent. London also experienced the greatest monthly rise with a movement of 1.4 per cent.The region with thegreatest annual price fall is the North East with a decrease of 5.7 per cent. The North East also saw the mostsignificant monthly price fall with a decrease of 1.6 per cent.
The most up-to-date figures available show thatduring February 2013, the number of completed house sales in England and Wales decreased by 3 per cent to43,573 compared with 44,829 in February 2012.Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, comments:While the OECD and others argue that Osbornes innovative Help to Buy scheme could create another housing bubble, this mornings figures surely demonstrate the need for such initiatives to stimulate the market.
While the number ofcompleted house sales in England and Wales has fallen in the past year, the Help to Buy scheme will enfranchisemany first-time buyers, allowing them to get onto the housing ladder, freeing up stagnant chains and creating better liquidity in the housing market overall.Todays figures show the London property market continuing to surge ahead of the UK housing market, driving growth with consistently strong price increases.
A steady growth of6.2% does not constitute a bubble and the figures show the London property market continuing its orderly rise.Demand for prime London properties remains consistently high, bolstered by both overseas and domestic buyers striving in competition for the best properties. The rise of 1m homes clearly demonstrates the premium paid for quality housing in prime areas of London.The number of properties sold in England and Wales for over 1 million in February 2013 increased by 3 per cent to 488 from 475 in February 2012.
All regions saw repossessions decrease between February 2012 and February 2013. The region with the greatest fall in the number of repossessions was the West Midlands.Giles Hannah, managing director of London agency VanHan, says:"The housing market continues to gain momentum, particularly in London and the south east. However, therein lies the problem with a national average index as price changes have varied widely across the UK.
While London and the south east leads the way, the picture in the north east of the country is much less rosy."We are traditionally in the busiest time of the year so we expect national averages to continue to pick up over the next couple of months as mortgage availability also continues to ease. Further quantitative easing should push mortgage rates ever lower, on the back of the work done by Funding for Lending, persuading more people to take the plunge.
"Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, comments on Land Registrys latest house price index:A further increase in house prices during April has contributed to the growing sense of confidence in the property market for the remainder of the year, with nearly 55,000 properties lodging for registration in April 2013.
Despite the rise in prices, would-be homeowners have had their ambitions fuelled by some of the best fixed rates weve seen since 2007, with the total volume of mortgage applications up by 10% in April compared with March.Paul Munford, CEO of property finance specialists, MCIFA:"The relentless march of the London property market continues apace."The capital is consistently out-performing other areas of the UK because it is asset-driven rather than income-driven, international rather than national. The rest of England and Wales is much more sensitive to the domestic economy, which, while improving, is still relatively weak.
Nowhere is this more pronounced than the North East, where prices are really struggling."Overall, the UK market, driven by the Funding for Lending Scheme, has definitely picked up. We can only hope that, as the economy strengthens and unemployment falls, some of the harder hit regional property markets will start to recover.
It's certainly encouraging to see that all areas of England and Wales have seen repossessions fall."David Brown, commercial director of LSL Property Services, comments:A rising tide lifts all ships, which is why increasing house prices play an important role in keeping optimism high throughout the whole market. But for those struggling to get onto Land Registry: house prices up 0.4% since March
the property ladder, the immediate outlook now requires ever more careful planning and saving. House prices are increasing faster than people can save, which is pushing their dream of homeownership further into the horizon. Aspiring homeowners have seen the prospect become 640 pounds more distant in just one month.For plenty of people renting remains a much more realistic and affordable option. Aprils annualised house price rise is 4.9%, while the latest data shows rents have risen by 3.9% in the last year. Landlords are expanding the supply of rental properties, and this is helping to control rents in many areas. However, particularly in the denser parts of the UK, rents are not being matched by employment prospects and wage growth. Economic optimism is one thing, but monthly economic reality is another.