Residential Registrations Decline In 2019

Despite the property market bounce back enjoyed by the sector following the general election at the start of December last year, the total number of property sales ended the year 0.91% lower than in 2018.

The 1,180,610 sales completed in 2019 was marginally down on the 1,191,460 transaction in 2018, according to recent HM Land Registry data.

Although 2020 is enjoying a buoyant start to the decade, figures suggest sales in 2019 were hampered significantly by political and Brexit uncertainty.

Property sales registered with HMLR fell by 5.6% when compared with 2018, falling from 1,054,260 to 994,246 registrations for residential property.

Whilst the 9.3% decline in residential registrations between November and December is unsurprising given the usual lull over the festive period, the 78,825 residential registrations in December were 5.3% down on the previous year.

Recent house price data for January, released by Nationwide, indicates that the current market is growing with a lot more gusto than in 2019.

Annual house price growth stood at 1.9% in January; a 0.5% increase from the 1.4% figure in December.

The 0.5% monthly increase will be welcome relief to a market that witnessed house price growth of less than 1% in 2019 and could suggest a rejuvenated confidence.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, commented:

“Indicators of UK economic activity were fairly volatile for much of 2019, but the underlying pace of growth slowed through the year as a result of weaker global growth and an intensification of Brexit uncertainty.

“The underlying pace of housing market activity has remained broadly stable, with the number of mortgages approved for house purchase continuing within the fairly narrow range prevailing over the past two years. Healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs appear to be offsetting the drag from the uncertain economic outlook.

“Looking ahead, economic developments will remain the key driver of housing market trends and house prices. Much will continue to depend on how quickly uncertainty about the UK’s future trading relationships lifts, as well as the outlook for global growth. Overall, we expect the economy to continue to expand at a modest pace in 2020, with house prices remaining broadly flat over the next 12 months.

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