Residential sales in England and Wales increased in August, according to the latest LSL/Acadametrics index. Residential prices were up 2.6 per cent compared to last year, the index reveals, while sales activity also rose during the month. Compared to July, average property prices increased by an average of 0.1 per cent, compared to July, prompting comments that prices are remaining relatively stable.
However, it has also been noted that this stability is not being seen throughout England and Wales. Indeed, the index revealed significant regional variation, demonstrating that marked differences in the value of property investments could even be seen within individual locations, such as London, with the report highlighting that Kensington outperforms Lewisham in this regard approximately fivefold, and the north/south divide continues to widen.
The report suggests annual residential property price growth is expected to total approximately 2.5 to three per cent. PropertyWire cites housing market specialist and chairman of Acadametrics Peter Williams as saying this figure would be ahead of the two per cent target set by the Bank of England. However, despite this growth, the report also demonstrates that it is being driven in large part by wealthy investors and cash purchases.
Mr Williams adds the market is currently displaying stability, explaining while these figures may appear like more radical change, the large part played by affluent investors suggests that improvements are more flat than may otherwise have been assumed. "The average national statistic is thus looking extremely stable in nominal terms, although monthly stability in house prices is not universal across the country, with areas such as Yorkshire and Humberside witnessing a one per cent decline in prices during the month of July," Mr Williams states.
Meanwhile, the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) UK Housing Market Survey revealed the number of completed residential sales remained broadly stable in August, despite the focus on the Olympic Games. The organisation did note, however, that the number of viewings did drop slightly during the month. The survey also showed that investors are broadly more positive about the autumn months compared to July, with 12 per cent more respondents claiming they expect sales volumes to rise.