Feb house sales down by 50%

Here are the number of new instructions (listings) that have come onto the market each month along with the total number sold (with the help of HMRC) for February. I’m still not aware that the total number of new instructions as a figure is produced anywhere else. The attached graph shows the numbers for February every year going back to 2003.

The long term average number of new properties added to the market across the UK each month is 172,430.

Last month the number of new properties added to the market was 83,489

The long term average number of properties sold in the UK each month is 118,003.

Last month the total number of properties sold was just 42,000

Estate agents have reported recently that the number of enquires they are getting is on the up and last week the National Association of Estate Agents suggested that each estate agent was selling 6 properties a month on average. On closer inspection, these numbers appear to include sales agreed rather than homes actually sold and the latest figures confirmed today by HMRC of just 42,000 sales shows that the number of actual transactions is less than 4 a month.

The number of new properties coming to the market is also markedly down with only around 83,000 new instructions, down from 152,000 in February last year. This reduction in supply should help stabilise house prices but the huge fall in demand illustrated by the reduced number of transactions explains why house prices are still falling fast.

The short term outlook is not encouraging with no sign of increased lending. First time buyers now have to find 24% deposits which means that they are now having to save over £37,000 to buy an average priced house.