Residential transactions fell 1.4% nationally last year but ended 2018 on a high

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Charles Haresnape Gatehouse Bank

Residential property transactions fell nationally by just over 1% in 2018 but ended the year on a high, new research by Home Purchase Plan provider and Shariah compliant bank Gatehouse Bank reveals.

Analysis of the latest figures from the Land Registry shows England and Wales saw a 1.4% overall fall in transactions but closed 2018 with two consecutive months of quarterly growth.

Sales volumes exited negative territory in November with a 1.4% increase in quarterly transaction volumes compared with the same period a year earlier, before posting another quarterly rise of 4% in December.

The slowdown in transaction volumes in the capital had been improving since hitting a 5.5% slump for the three months to the end of April 2018, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Gatehouse carried out the study by analysing the monthly sales bulletin produced by the Land Registry, which is its most up-to-date indication of transactions levels. The latest bulletin took the data up to the end of 2018.

The Bank’s analysis indicates an estimated 912,559 homes were sold in England and Wales in 2018, down from 925,516 in 2017.

England and Wales overall fared much better than London, which saw a 4.4% fall in sales last year. However the capital posted three straight months of rises to end the year, rising 0.08%, 2.53% and 2.15% between October and December on a quarterly basis.

Charles Haresnape, pictured, CEO of Gatehouse Bank, said:

“A slump in transactions has been weighing on the housing market for a number of years now but the overall picture seemed to be improving as we headed in the start of this year.

“If the Bank of England’s recent house price prediction of a 1.25% fall in 2019 bears fruit, this will, if anything, help repair some of the damage being wrought on estate agents’ books as it will likely attract buyers back to the market, particularly first-time buyers and investors.”