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2019 sales slump: Southern England hit harder than the North

The largely accepted slow residential property sales growth in 2019, has new data from Southern Grove that highlights that the south of the UK was most affected by this sales slump. Whilst southern areas struggled with 62% of areas that saw falling transactions in 2019, most parts of the UK actually saw transaction volumes grow last year.

Sales figures began to fall on an annual basis in May, after the country experienced a ‘Brexit wobble’. But much of the in sales occurred in Southern England and Southern Wales, skewing the overall picture.

In the year to May 2019 – in Scotland – just two of 32 local authorities, 6.3%, saw a fall in sales and the entire country actually recorded a 20.5% rise in transactions.

Andrew Southern, Chairman of Southern Grove, stated:

 ‘This is an eye-opening dissection of a collapse in sales that was clearly weighted towards the South. It’s a region that has seen huge price growth over the past five years so it’s no accident.’

‘Home owners in more expensive areas clearly felt it was better to ride out the storm, as any subsequent purchase would carry a hefty stamp duty bill at a time when they couldn’t be confident property values would be bulletproof in the medium term,’ he pointed out.

June’s HMRC figures showed sales volumes had dropped 11.3% in the 12 months to May 2019 as home owners and buyers shelved their plans pending Britain’s exit from the European Union on March 29.

Overall, the worst affected areas of the UK included North Dorset with a fall of 35.4%; Harrogate down 33.9%, East Cambridgeshire down 29.6%, Broxbourne down 27.8% and Fulham down 25.9%.

‘In that situation, it is only human to wait and see what happens. High valuations give homeowners a taste for the piggy bank they think their home has become and they are often wary of doing anything that could jeopardise that peak valuation. It’s in this type of market that the hammer blow of stamp duty is most unhelpful. It’s a tax so punitive as to be totally counter-productive,’ Southern added.

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