Property gloom hits England & Wales

The LCPAca Residential index provides a comprehensive dataset, tracking residential property prices and transactions within England & Wales, Greater London and Prime Central London. It is based on every transaction for full market value recorded by HM Land Registry in England & Wales, including prices of properties bought with cash and new builds, as opposed to statistics based on asking prices, mortgage approvals, or selective samples.

Headlines from September 2018 Report

PRIME CENTRAL LONDON (PCL)TRANSACTIONS FALL TO ALL TIME LOW

  • Average annual prices in September (excluding new build) in PCL now stand at £1,866,517.
  • Annual prices increase by 4.9% due to an improved performance in the high value sector.
  • Annual transactions fall 16.8%, down 45% on 2014.
  • New build prices remain at a high premium of 39.8% over existing stock and now stand at £2,653,256.
  • New build transactions are almost static, falling by 0.8% across the year.

GREATER LONDON

NEW BUILD TRANSACTIONS FALL BY ALMOST 14%

  • Average prices in September (excluding new build) in Greater London now stand at £649,246.
  • This represents a monthly increase of 2.1% and nominal annual growth of just 1.5%.
  • Annual transactions continue to fall to 87,358, a drop of 7.6%, due to higher taxes and continued uncertainty.
  • These falls have been seen across Greater London with new build transactions falling 13.6% over the year.
  • New build prices now stand at £791,455, a 31.1% premium over existing stock.

ENGLAND AND WALES (EXCLUDING GREATER LONDON)

NEW BUILD PREMIUM INCREASES TO ALMOST 15%

  • Average prices in September (excluding new build) in England and Wales now stand at £266,993.
  • This represents a monthly increase of 1.6% and nominal annual growth of 2.4%.
  • Annual transactions continue to fall to 779,638, a drop of 3.2%, as uncertainty persists.
  • New build prices stand at £286,679 representing a 14.8% premium over existing stock.

Naomi Heaton, CEO of LCP, comments:

Average annual prices in Prime Central London (PCL) in September now stand at £1,866,517, representing annual growth of 4.9%. This has been buoyed by a better performance in the high value sector.

Annual transactions have now dropped to 3,606, fewer than 70 sales a week. This is a fall of 16.8% over the year and is 2.7% less than the previous low of 3,704 seen during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in June 2009. It is the lowest level on record.

It is hard to see how this decline in transactions can be reversed until there is an agreed outline plan for Brexit. International buyers, already affected by successive tax increases and now exposed to negative coverage of the current political situation, are holding back.

Nevertheless, the high value sector is seeing a better performance now. The weakness of sterling and the high absolute levels of discounts available are encouraging homeowners, in particular, to enter the market.

On the other hand, rental investors, who underpin the lower value end of the market are biding their time. It is likely that when sentiment improves, prices in this sector will harden quickly.

Greater London shows a weak performance. Average prices now stand at £649,246, a modest monthly rise of 2.1%. Prices on an annual basis have seen nominal growth of 1.5%.

Transactions remain just above the lows seen during the GFC and now stand at 87,358. This is a fall of 7.6% year on year and follows three previous annual falls.

This is now a very familiar picture across the capital. Market sentiment has not been restored by the government’s policies or handling of the Brexit negotiations. In what is already a heavily taxed landscape the government believes there is still room to add further taxes directed at the overseas investor.

This does not seem to be the right message for the government to be sending to the outside world with Brexit looming.

Undoubtedly it flies in the face of the “open for business” slogan the Prime Minister previously used at the G20 summit in 2016.

England and Wales (excluding Greater London) is showing a weak performance in September. Monthly price growth is just 1.6% and prices now stand at £266,993. However annual growth has been on a downward trajectory since 2014, falling from 5.7% to 2.4% currently.

Transactions have also fallen on an annual basis by 3.2% and now stand at 779,638.

Falling transactions is the common theme throughout all the sectors reported on, and it appears there is still very little cause for optimism. Growth has been stifled by the government’s failure to give a clearer picture of what a post-Brexit landscape will entail for homeowners and investors alike.