Property market review 2015

With 2015 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

2015 was kick-off with a robust increase in properties coming on to the market. Historically January is among the quieter months; however national figures reported by the Agency Express Property Activity Index showed figures bucked the seasonal trend recording an increase of 51.4%, the largest increase for the month since January 2012. We also witnessed a national increase of 1% in properties ‘Sold’,  a 5 year record best figure for January.

February & March

January’s buoyant trend continued in to February and March where we witnessed further increases in both new listings ‘For Sale’ and properties ‘Sold’.  Properties ‘Sold’ nationally saw an increase of 14.3%, the largest increase in sales for March since 2011. Properties coming on to the market increased by 11.6%, doubling the figure recorded for the month in 2014. The figures for March supported statistics from the Building Society Association’s Property Tracker who reported that 36% of consumers believed that it was a good time to buy.

April & May

Moving in to April and May we witnessed a stall in the UK Property Market.  April which is typically a consistent and robust fell for the first time in three months.  Properties ‘Sold’ dropped by -4.9% and new listings ‘For Sale’ by -3.8%.  The unexpected decline was reported  as a result of the impending  General Election; reports from the NAEA stated that almost half (46%) of NAEA member agents witnessed  the market cooling in the lead up to the Election, with over a quarter (27%) of agents thinking the Election would have the biggest impact on the housing market this year.  Agency Express analysed the Property Activity Index’s historical data and records showed that the last decline made for the month was in fact during the 2010 Pre Elections, where properties ‘Sold’ fell by -0.7%.

June to September

Post-Election we  saw a surge of activity,  the UK property market reported record best figures for June with national figures for properties ‘Sold’ rising by 13%. The surge in sales seemed consistent with reports from The British Bankers Association, where Chief Economist Richard Woolhouse stated that mortgage approvals had been steadily improving over the past five months, and that the number of house purchases in May was very similar to the underlying trend in 2014.  July and August remained true to trend with a lull during the summer holiday months, and as anticipated as we entered September normal activity resumed.

October & November

During October we’d traditionally expect a seasonal slowdown; however October's property market bucked seasonal trend recording a month on month increase of 2.7% in properties ‘Sold’.  New listings ‘For Sale’ recorded decline during the period, falling by -4.3%.  Not unexpectedly the decline continued in to November where new listings ‘For Sale’ fell by -12.2% and properties ‘Sold’ by a steep 14.7%.  In the same period reports from the Council of Mortgage Lenders  revealed that mortgage lending had experiencing its strongest spell since the financial crisis and was nearly a fifth higher than a year ago.  In more recent reports it has also now been confirmed that the number of mortgage approvals made to home buyers lifted in November, Bank of England lending figures show that 70,410 mortgages with a total value of £12.3 billion were approved for house purchase in November, marking the highest figure seen since 70,748 approvals were recorded in August.

December

The latest data from the Agency Express Property Activity Index has, as expected revealed declines in December’s property market.  New listings ‘For Sale’ fell by -45.3% as did properties ‘Sold’ by -29.9%.  However the report also shows the fall in figures for December 2015 are slightly bigger than those recorded in 2014, where we witnessed a decline of -41.1% in new listings ‘For Sale’ and -26.5%in properties ‘Sold’.

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.  We collect board movement data 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.  Over the past 12 months we’ve witnessed a fairly stable property market, there were some lulls but recovery from these has been fairly swift.  Looking in to 2016, with excellent mortgage rates still available, increased borrowing and mortgage approvals up we’re confidently heading in to the first half of the year.

Monthly % Changes for December 2015

% Changes for Oct - December 2015

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 15 Dec 14 Dec 15 Dec 14
NATIONAL -45.3 -41.1 -29.9 -26.5
Central England -55.9 -46.9 -21.3 -25.8
East Anglia -43.7 -40.5 -38.8 -30.7
East Midlands -37.8 -27.3 -36.3 -16.3
London -66.2 -60.1 -24.7 -26.9
North East -17.6 -30.5 -25.6 -31.5
North West -36.5 -35.9 -34.1 -28.5
Scotland -40.1 -36.2 -27 -24.7
South East -47.4 -41 -26 -14.8
South West -38 -39.1 -20.9 -29.6
Wales -46.8 -41 -31.1 -25.7
West Midlands -46.1 -35.3 -37.7 -27.4
Yorks & Humber -34.5 -35.7 -27.3 -28.3
New Listings Properties Sold
Oct -
Apr 15
Oct -
Dec 14
Oct -
Dec 15
Oct -
Dec 14
NATIONAL -19.3 -20.7 -13.3 -12.6
Central England -17.2 -16.6 -8.7 -14
East Anglia -17.5 -23.1 -15.8 -14.4
East Midlands -16.5 -20.8 -11.2 -8.9
London -17.1 -21.4 -11.3 -11.6
North East -14.6 -15.1 -10.8 -15.4
North West -18.8 -18 -12.5 -10.5
Scotland -22.6 -20.4 -13.3 -16.1
South East -20.1 -22 -13.9 -8.3
South West -20.3 -23 -12.8 -11.4
Wales -22.2 -18.4 -14.9 -12.6
West Midlands -24.5 -19.8 -16.6 -15
Yorks & Humber -19.5 -21.5 -13.5 -14.6
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