UK property market shows further signs of recovery

Data for November 2012 showed that the number of UK-wide residential properties achieving ‘Sold’ status decreased by just -1.2%, whilst new ‘For Sale’ listings decreased against the previous month by -7.3%. Putting this into perspective, the figures recorded for November 2012 show the lowest month-on-month seasonal drop in both new ‘For Sale’ and ‘Sold’ properties since the Property Activity Index began in 2007.

For properties achieving ‘Sold’ status during November, six of the twelve regions covered by the Index showed month-on-month increases for November against October, with the hot-spots being the North East – up 44.1%, the North West – up 15.3%, Scotland – up 5.4%, South West – up 4.0% and Central England – up by 3.2%. The not-so-hot-spots for November compared to October were London – down 9.9%, East Anglia – down 9.4%, the South East – down 7.1%, the East Midlands – down 4.8% and the West Midlands – down by 4.3%. Year on year comparisons for November 2012 v November 2011 show ten of the twelve UK regions with positive trends for the number of properties ‘Sold’ with many generating double-digit growth such as the South East – up 37.4%, the West Midlands – up 34.3% and the South West – up 30.8%.

Eleven of the twelve UK regions covered within the Index showed month-on-month decreases in new ‘For Sale’ listings during November with the worst performers being the North East – down by 23.8%, the South East – down 18.6%, Wales – down 14.0% and the West Midlands – down 13.3%. Year on year comparisons for November 2012 v November 2011 show eleven of the twelve UK regions with positive trends for the number of new ‘For Sale’ listings with several generating substantial double-digit growth such as the North West – up 48.2%, the South West – up 43.8% and the South East – up 41.8%.

When it came to the number of properties ‘Sold’ across the 22 individual towns and cities covered by the Index, there were significant variations in month-on-month performances. The nation’s hot-spots were York, with an increase of 36.5%, Newcastle – up 36.2%, Bristol – up 36.1%, Oxford – up by 32.0% and Manchester – up by 17.8%. The towns and cities that performed worst month-on-month for properties ‘Sold’ were Coventry – down by 43.7%, Brighton – down 33.3%, Nottingham – down 30.1% and Southampton – down 19.4%.

Stephen Watson, Managing Director, Agency Express, commented on the latest Index results saying: “We would normally expect to see a much greater seasonal drop in market activity in November from October, so these figures are surprisingly good news, particularly if you compare the year on year trends since we started monitoring the market in 2007. There is also supporting evidence and a further sign of an upturn in the market with mortgage approvals hitting a 10-month high. There are significant regional variations within the Index however, which indicates that the underlying economic factors affecting the market such as the continued economic uncertainties both in the UK and Europe have not gone away, so I am cautiously optimistic about these set of figures and as always, if confidence increases, so too will market activity.”