September sales at eight-year high

  • Strongest September for home sales since 2007, driven by activity in the north as supply squeeze stalls sales in the south
  • But there’s a southern resurgence in price growth, with the South East seeing strongest year-on-year rise of any region
  • London housing market back on track, with capital recording its biggest monthly price boost since June 2014
  • Overall, average house prices across England and Wales have risen £11,500 in the last year, after 42 months of annual growth
  • September’s monthly price increase takes property values to ninth consecutive record this year, standing at £284,742

Richard Sexton, Director of e.surv chartered surveyors, comments: “The speed of house price growth across England and Wales may not be setting the world alight, but it’s certainly showing it has stamina – September marks the 42nd successive month of positive annual growth. Typical property prices are now £11,500 (4.2%) higher than a year ago, and house price growth continues to outdo rises in wages and consumer prices. In September the average home value in England and Wales rose to reach £284,742, a healthy £1,231 (0.4%) monthly boost from August, setting the ninth new price record this year.

“This growth is primarily being underpinned by sturdy demand and solid activity at the bottom of the property ladder. The most frequently paid property price across England and Wales is just £125,000, mirroring the level at which stamp duty becomes payable, and reflecting the impetus that has been injected in the first-time buyer market recently. It is also the lower to mid-range properties priced between £180,000 and £360,000 which are seeing the fastest increases in value, while the shift in stamp duty bands continues to slow growth at the higher end of the market, and prices above £600,000 are largely stationary.

“Despite this, London is firmly back in the driving seat of property price rises, following a slight pit stop. House price growth in the capital has washed up since September 2014, when annual growth stood at a staggering 19.2%, but a price surge in September seems to have stemmed the flow. Average house prices in London jumped 1.4% in August – the biggest monthly boost for fourteen months since June 2014 – and this has also rallied the annual change. As in the rest of the country, it’s the more affordably priced London boroughs which are behind this renaissance, as the strengthening of sterling, rising stamp duty rates and moves against non-doms take their toll on the high-end market. The ten boroughs with the lowest average house prices all set new record highs in August, and it is Barking and Dagenham, at the very bottom of the price rankings, that recorded the fastest year-on-year increase in property values, at 15.7%.

“While London is once again leading the pack in terms of monthly price growth, the South East region has soared two places in the rankings to top the charts with the highest annual increase in property values. Average house prices in the South East have grown 5.8% over the past twelve months. Combined, these two regions are now having a much greater influence on national measures of price growth. Compared to July, when they were only pushing up the overall annual change by 0.1%, this has grown to 0.7%. As house price growth becomes more southern-centric again, the London commuter belt is spurring some of the fastest rates of change – with Luton witnessing the steepest price rise compared to last year, jumping 14.9%.

“This is the strongest September for home sales since 2007, escaping the recession shadow and completely defying the seasonal trend. Monthly sales have totalled 84,000, an increase of 3% from August, and making September only the second month this year in which sales have overtaken 2014 levels. The regional spread of home sales reads like a traditional tale of north/south divide – with cheaper northern regions experiencing the fastest growth in property sales, while a shortage of property stock on the market in the south is slowing activity. In the three months to August 2015, the North and North West of England saw the biggest year-on-year increase in property sales, while East Anglia, London and the South East saw the most significant annual falls, as the squeeze on supply in the south reins back the flow of activity and drives up buyer competition and prices.”

Today's Conveyancer