Nº of homes sold last year down 23%

The latest figures released by Land Registry confirm that the property market took a significant dive last year with nearly 23% fewer houses sold in England and Wales according to the property website Primemove.com.

Spokesman Henry Pryor said “The latest update of data that we have been supplied with included 104,590 properties for December to be added to the 885,075 that had been recorded up until the end of November. This makes a total of 989,665 for the year compared to 1,283,459 in 2006.

“It was clear earlier in the year that the market was slowing significantly with the volume of sales down by between 25% and 30% as early as May” said Pryor who was one of the first to call the top of the market in January last year. “Homes had become unaffordable and when other factors such as the introduction of the Home Information Pack were added, it became clear that buyers were starting to melt away. The problems of Northern Rock and the removal of over 40% of mortgage products in the Autumn signalled the end of the bull market and we have started the year with asking prices down by an average of 5% as a result.

“We expect to see the number of homes put on the market to be down on last year which saw a record 2.9 million properties offered for sale. Sadly, repossessions will make up a bigger percentage with a worrying 27,100 keys being taken back last year. Although the Council of Mortgage Lenders are predicting this may double, if supply doesn’t pick up then these could account for 1 in 10 sales in 2008.