A scoop with the land reg figures

The latest sales figures have been published by HM Land Registry. Each month they produce the headline statistics based upon completed sales lodged by solicitors. In their release on Monday they confirmed that the volume of sales in April was down 39% on the same month last year. Two days later, they release the individual records of each recorded sale in the previous month which give an indication of just how few properties were sold in June.

In June 2006 there were 124,000 homes sold in England and Wales.

In June 2007 there were 105,000 properties sold. A drop of 15%.

So far just 17,681 (yes, seventeen thousand, six hundred and eighty one) sales have been recorded in June this year.

Solicitors continue to report transactions that completed in June but it is now clear just how deep the malaise in the housing market is. I would expect this total to increase although it is hard to imagine what the lawyers are busy doing that is stopping them filing their returns. They are not busy with house sales.

Estate agents are clearly suffering along with their clients with offices reported to be closing at a rate of 100+ a week. Less than one in five properties selling and with an average cost of marketing each of around £300 there will be many more who will be unable to continue to trade.

Predictions that the number of sales this year could fall by up to 30% already look conservative. Just under 1 million homes were sold last year, a fall from over 1.24m in 2006.

The second half of 2008 will be extremely tough for anyone connected with the housing market. It remains to be seen whether the reletively swift down turn will enable the market to recover quickly next year. Average house prices are now falling at nearly £2000 per month according to the Land Registry but prices for many are already 15% down on this time last year. I expect a further fall of 10% in many areas by the end of the year.

If you are an estate agent then the top 10 places with the most sales in June were;-

CV6 (Coventry) 44
CR0 (Croydon) 40
S6 (Sheffield) 36
BN3 (Hove) 35
SW19 (Wimbledon) 35
BN1(Brighton) 34
E14 (Poplar) 34
ST5 (Newcastle-under-Lyme) 34
FY8 (Lytham Saint Annes) 33

However, there were over 500 postcodes (out of 2851 nationwide) which recorded no sales at all.