A year in the property market

With 2014 now behind us it is time to reflect on the events and figures that have shaped the UK property market in the past 12 months.

January 2014 was kick-started by a robust increase in both properties ‘Sold’ and properties coming on to the market. Historically January is among the quieter months for the UK property market; however the Agency Express Property Activity Index highlighted that year on year January 2014 saw an unseasonal increase across the nation. Figures for properties ‘Sold’ increased by 98.4% and by 37.6% for new listings ‘For Sale’.  

Moving in to February the buoyant trend continued across the nation. During February reports from the Council of Mortgage Lenders stated that year on year number of first-time buyers taking out mortgages was up by 41%, reaching a record high since 2008. The Property Activity Index reported further increases for properties ‘Sold’ by rising by 69.74%, reaffirming the growth and strength of UK property market. Regional data recorded by the Agency Express Property Activity Index also highlighted a thriving Welsh property market, post the successful launch of the Welsh ‘Help to Buy’ scheme on 2nd January 2014. Figures recorded by the index highlighted an increase of 89.44% on properties ‘Sold’ and an increase of 67.73% in new listings ‘For Sale’. This marked the region’s best February since the index’s first records in 2007.

On the 26th April 2014 the UK property market saw the launch of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) where both homebuyers and mortgage providers faced tougher checks before being granted mortgages. In May statistics from the British Banker’s Association also showed that the overall value of mortgage borrowing continued to increase; reaching a six year high, but the number of mortgage approvals had fallen. During these months property market figures remained stable. Figures recorded by the Property Activity Index reported that properties ‘Sold’ nationally had only marginally declined by 0.20%. Regional month on month data reported by index also highlighted that Central England had recorded their best figures for properties ‘Sold’ in May since the index’s first records; rising by 18.50%.

The outcome of fewer mortgage approvals and the MMR process took a few months to show full effect on the market but by July a downward trend occurred. Reports from the Property Activity Index showed national figures starting to plateau. The number of residential properties achieving a ‘Sold’ status UK wide decreased by 2.70% and new listings ‘For Sale’ also dropped by 1.20%. In fact during July figures reported by the index revealed marginal declines across the majority of the UK market. 

Later in July the Council of Mortgage Lenders revealed that gross mortgage lending reached £17.5 billion in June, and the Bank of England reported mortgage approvals to be 7.5% higher than those in May. The steadier flow of mortgage approvals now started to positively impact the market. August’s figures from the Property Activity Index reflected national growth with properties ‘Sold’ rising by 1.90%. The positive trend continued across the rest of the UK with one prominent performer, the East Midlands who reported record best figures for August. Properties ‘Sold’ increased by 20.20% and new listings ‘For Sale’ by 16.50%.

National figures showed further growth in to September with both new listings ‘For Sale’ rising by 4.6% and properties ‘Sold’ by 3.2%. Although the figures recorded were modest in comparison to figures for September2013, where new listings ‘For Sale’ rose by 11.2% and properties ‘Sold’ by 17.2%. Throughout July and August historically seasonal adjustments are not uncommon, with an increase in figures again in September.  Although the activity recorded over this period in 2014 was subdued in comparison to 2013.

October through to December figures remained modest and the Property Activity Index showed signs of an early seasonal slowdown. In November the index also showed for the first time figures for both new listing ‘For Sale’ and ‘Sold’ fall to equal or below those recorded in 2013.

Looking across the nation year on year figures recorded by the Property Activity Index highlights the following regions as top performers for properties ‘Sold’ in 2014:

 Annual increase %

  • West Midlands 60.13%
  • Wales 59.83%
  • South East 51.02%
  • Yorkshire & Humber 36.65%
  • North West 34.18 %
  • Central England 32.05%
  • East Midlands 29.47%

Commenting on the latest index results, Stephen Watson, Managing Director of Agency Express said: 

As the UK’s largest estate agency board service provider we are the first to witness growth in the UK property market. The services we deliver are closely tracked and monitored via our estate agency board management system Signmaster3, and data is collated 24hrs a day 7 days a week, from a property being placed on the market to completion of sale. As a result we are able to share this information with you and compare what is happening on the streets to what is being reported by financial institutions. The past 12 months we’ve witnesses stringent lending and slower activity throughout the second half of the year. While seasonal adjustments are anticipated the Property Activity Index has highlighted year on year declines for both properties ‘For Sale’ and ‘Sold’, with the downward trend beginning in July.  Although it is equally important to state that these figures are compared to those recorded in 2013 when we had an exceptionally robust market. We have witnessed some year on year declines in 2014 but overall the market remains in good shape.

Monthly % Changes for December 2014

% Changes for Oct - December 2014

New Listings
% Change over last 12 months vs Previous 12 months

Properties Sold
% Change over last 12 months vs Previous 12 months

New Listings Properties Sold
Dec 14 Dec 13 Dec 14 Dec 13
NATIONAL -41.1 -36.3 -26.5 -27.8
Central England -46.9 -44.6 -25.8 -34.3
East Anglia -40.5 -37.8 -30.7 -30
East Midlands -27.3 -39.6 -16.3 -27.8
London -60.1 -51.4 -26.9 -18
North East -30.5 -34 -31.5 -34.2
North West -35.9 -33.9 -28.5 -30.6
Scotland -36.2 -22.6 -24.7 -30
South East -41 -44.5 -14.8 -27.8
South West -39.1 -32.9 -29.6 -27.3
Wales -41 -30.4 -25.7 -32.2
West Midlands -35.3 -35.4 -27.4 -35.1
Yorks & Humber -35.7 -19.5 -28.3 -18.3
New Listings Properties Sold
Oct -
Apr 14
Oct -
Dec 13
Oct -
Dec 14
Oct -
Dec 13
NATIONAL -20.7 -17.8 -12.6 -9.9
Central England -16.6 -20.7 -14 -11.9
East Anglia -23.1 -18.1 -14.4 -10.9
East Midlands -20.8 -16.5 -8.9 -7.3
London -21.4 -15 -11.6 -8.9
North East -15.1 -19 -15.4 -10.9
North West -18 -17.8 -10.5 -4.9
Scotland -20.4 -21.5 -16.1 -16.4
South East -22 -18.4 -8.3 -9.2
South West -23 -18.1 -11.4 -8.8
Wales -18.4 -17.5 -12.6 -19.7
West Midlands -19.8 -17 -15 -9.6
Yorks & Humber -21.5 -13.9 -14.6 -9.4
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