House sales to top 80,000 for March say Your Move

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The number of transactions in March was up 30% on February, more than 7% ahead of the typical spring increase.
The total number of transactions for the month could top 80,000, the highest March since 2007, according to the monthly Your Move House Price Index.

The index puts the average price of a property in England and Wales at £291,650, up 6.9% on twelve months ago, with the average property “earning” £18,745.

The index differs from Land Registry figures in that it seeks to include cash purchases.

Peter Williams, Chairman of Acadata and John Tindale, housing analyst at Acadata expect volumes to dip in April: “Our predicted level of sales for March 2016 will be the highest number of transactions in the month of March since 2007, when volumes reached 110,250. However, there clearly are exceptional reasons for this, and we can anticipate that sales volumes will fall in April 2016 to levels similar to those in April 2015 – a month prior to the last General Election.

“Uncertainty does however remain a watchword. As we discuss later, the Brexit vote is looming. Savills suggest that a stay vote would see any short term anxieties quickly resolved with demand being restored subject to on-going constraints such as regulation. But a vote to leave Europe would trigger ‘a more prolonged period of uncertainty in the UK economy as an exit is negotiated has the potential to affect housing market demand’ while ‘overseas buyers in the prime markets of central London are likely to be more cautious’.

“In the meantime, and despite the underlying tensions and uncertainties as this release shows, the market remains relatively buoyant in terms of prices and transactions, at least for the month of March. Clearly, it has been boosted by government interventions, so it will be important to see how the market settles in April and May and before the run up to the 23rd June.”

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: “This Spring, with a frantic flurry of activity, the housing market has come to life. As a result of the impending stamp duty hike, this has been the strongest March for home sales in nine years. The surge was widespread across England and Wales, with a 30% upswing in transactions since February. This goes beyond any normal seasonality, with second-home and buy-to-let investors rushing to beat a bigger tax bill.

“House prices have also reached a new record in March, with the value of the typical home rising 6.9% (£18,745) year-on-year. This is an acceleration from the previous month’s 6.5% annual growth and represents the largest year-on-year growth since February 2015. The green shoots are resplendent right across the country, with 73% of local authorities in England and Wales experiencing a monthly upswing in home values – the highest proportion of areas seeing positive property price rises since July 2014.

“This will be welcome news for homeowners, who now have a fantastic opportunity in the current sellers’ market. The pervasive shortage of homes on the market is still driving up values, as buyers have to compete for each available property. If they are going to make it easier to get a foot on the property ladder, the Government will have to double-down on its help to first-time buyers, or let up on landlords.”

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