MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, October 26, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- The number of towns recording a rise in home sales has more than doubled over the past year, according to research by Lloyds TSB
. Almost two-thirds - 324 out of 500 (or 65%) - of the towns tracked in England and Wales were property sales 'hotspots' (i.e. towns that recorded a rise in home sales in the past year) in the first half of 2012. This was 115% higher than the 151 (or 30%) towns that recorded a rise in the first half of 2011.
North-south divide in location of property hotspots
60% of the towns that saw a rise in home sales in 2012 are in southern England1. This is in contrast to 2011 when towns in the north accounted for a larger share of the country's property sales hotspots (58%).
Felixstowe records the biggest rise in home sales
The Suffolk seaside town of Felixstowe recorded the biggest increase in home sales in the first six months of 2012 with a 60% rise, followed by Brighouse in West Yorkshire (53%). In contrast, the two locations with the largest declines in home sales in the first half of 2012 are in Lancashire. Salford saw the biggest fall (-28%), followed by Leigh in Wigan (-27%). Overall, there were 282,086 home sales in England and Wales in the first half of 2012; 2.2% higher than in the same period in 2011 (275,953).
Areas with the biggest increase in home sales driven by better affordability...
House prices in the 10 towns that saw the biggest increases in property sales in the first half of 2012 stand at an average of 5.8 times local gross annual earnings. This is nearly a fifth (18%) lower than the average multiple of 7.1 among the 10 towns that recorded the largest falls in property sales over the same period. There were notable exceptions to this trend with homes in Felixstowe (5.1) - the town with the largest rise in sales - less affordable than properties in Salford (4.2) - the area with the biggest drop in home sales over the past year.
House prices in the 10 areas that saw the biggest increases in home sales in the first half of 2012 have fallen by an average of 7% over the past four years. This was bigger than the decline in the towns that saw the largest falls in home sales over the same period (-5%). As a consequence, the average house price
in the 10 top performing areas (GBP186,940) is 8% (GBP15,334) lower than in the 10 worst performing locations (GBP202,274).
Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB Housing Economist, said:
"It is encouraging that the number of towns across England and Wales seeing a rise in home sales has increased significantly over the past year. This highlights the very mixed state of the housing market at a local level compared with the rather subdued picture at a national level. Many of the top performing towns are in areas where improved levels of affordability over recent years have helped support demand for those able to enter the housing market."
Home sales hotspots highest in Yorkshire and Humberside
In contrast to general outperformance of the south1 compared with the north, Yorkshire & the Humber had the highest proportion of property sales hotspots with over three quarters (79%) of all towns surveyed in the region recording an increase in sales. The south west had the second highest proportion (77%), followed by the south east (71%). The north of England had the lowest proportion of sales hotspots in 2012 with just over a quarter (28%) of towns seeing a rise in home sales.
1The north consists of the North East, North West, Yorkshire & the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands and Wales. The south consists of Greater London, South East, South West and East of England.
1. House Prices:
The house price and sales data in this report is sourced from the HM Land Registry. House price data is from the Land Registry and refers to crude average prices. These prices are not standardised and therefore can be affected by changes in the sample from period to period. The data in the research covers the 6 months to June in each year.
2. Average Earnings:
Average earnings figures are from the ONS's "Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings" (ASHE) and refer to the means for full-time employees in the relevant local authority of each town. Figures for 2012 have been estimated using the ONS average pay data.
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