First-time buyers are priced out as number of flats sold in London tumbles

London’s flats have decreased in sales as the prices are out of reach for ordinary first-time buyers, according to new research.

According to figures from Home.co.uk, which analyses data from the Office for National Statistics and property portals, which the number of apartments sold in the capital fell by 47pc in July compared to 12 months previously.

The number of detached properties sold in London fell 5pc in 12 months to July this year, with sales of terraced houses down 8pc. This comes amid a general slowdown in the level of transactions across the country, and particularly in London.

According to the Land Registry, the average price of a flat in London increased by 3.9pc in the 12 months to July to £434,587. The price growth of flats is outstripping all other property types across the country, partly due to a lack of supply, being led by the rises in the capital.

With the slowdown in sales signals that affordability has been crunched and many first-time buyers, who would typically purchase these properties, are sitting on their hands and waiting for a correction in prices. 

While the Government’s Help to buy scheme has allowed many first-time buyers across the country to get on the property ladder with a 5pc deposit, the take-up in London has been far lower. The threshold of £600,000 means that many newbuild properties are too expensive to qualify and analysis by the BBC earlier in the year found that while Help to Buy is used to buy one in three new-build homes outside London, in the capital it is just one in 10.

Other natural buyers of these properties, buy-to-let landlords, have also been squeezed by changes to the tax regime and many are sitting out buying opportunities or selling up their portfolios.

Lucy Pendleton, the founder of estate agency James Pendleton, said: “Solid numbers of people are showing some reluctance at current prices and signaling to all the other market participants they can’t transact unless they come back down to earth.” 

A correction could soon be coming: data from Acadata and LSL property services found that prices in London have fallen the most since the financial crisis. Average property values have fallen 2.7pc in the year to September, the most since 2009.

 

Manchester Property Prices Rising

Manchester has seen property values in the city have risen by 6.92 percent in the last 12 months, with the average home now worth around £162,000. However, across the whole of the UK, house prices rose by 5.14 pc in the year to July seeing the average move up to £226,185. According to the report, the total value of all homes in the UK is £3 trillion, with two-thirds of the total in the capital.

According to a new study, Manchester’s property market is the third most valuable in the country. Hometrack research found that houses in the city are worth a total of £133bn, behind London and Birmingham, which with housing markets worth £1.99 trillion and £152bn respectively.

Estate agent Ged McPartlin, from Ascend Properties, says news of Manchester’s housing boom comes as no surprise.He said: “The north is certainly booming as the latest Hometrack report has revealed that Manchester is the best city for growth – experiencing a strong increase in house prices.This, along with the total value of homes being worth a huge £133bn creates a truly thriving property market which is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.From an agent’s point of view, these figures truly reflect what we’re seeing in the marketplace.Buyers understand that the market is moving fast, competition is rife and it’s generally fastest fingers first. The demand has continued to push prices up and the lack of stock has created marketplace urgency.There’s also been an increase in landlords snapping properties up in the city, particularly throughout June, July and August, as the new university year creates a rush of tenants desperate to secure a decent property before the term starts.It’s been a very busy summer and the growth reported today clearly reflects this.”

The study also showed that mortgage debt in Manchester came to a total of £32bn, while housing equity – the difference between the home’s market value and the outstanding balance of mortgage payments – came to £100bn.

Richard Donnell, research and insight director at Hometrack, said: “House prices continue to rise on the back of sustained price inflation in large regional cities as unemployment falls and mortgage rates remain low.”