Land Registry numbers

The latest Land Registry report on the state of the housing market has been published and the last quarter of 2009 appears to have come as a relief to estate agents and those looking to sell.

House prices were up in England & Wales according to the Land Registry by 2.5% at £161,783. However there were significant regional differences with prices in London up 6.1% in December over the year but falling by 2.5% in Wales where they were down 2% in December alone.

Even within London though there were mixed stories. Prices in Newham were down 5.7% and 14.5% in Barking and Dagenham over the 12 months but they were up 6% in Richmond upon Thames.

Of more significance though was the increase in the volume of sales recorded. The Land Registry are always three months behind so they are reporting last Octobers volumes but they are up in England and Wales by 34% to 59,700. This is against a six year average of 85,616. Sales in London were up more with homes between £800k and £1m up 116% on the year before and by a massive 144% for homes between £1m and £2m.

“As usual” says Henry Pryor, housing expert “the broad statistics don’t tell the whole story. The market has improved strongly in London and the South East but the picture is different as you move further away with some parts of England and Wales still in real trouble. Sales volumes are returning and some sellers are finding that they can get a good price due to the lack of choice available for buyers but there is still a long way to go before this good news story in Central London is mirrored elsewhere.

“That sound of escaping air is not coming from Tony Blairs’ direction. It’s estate agents and mortgage brokers breathing a collective sigh of relief!