Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Land registry figures don't lie

Thanks to my old friend Peter Bill for this:

Sales volumes, not prices, are what matter to estate agents. Land Registry figures out this week show they remain awful. The number of new homes sold in London in April 2009 was 3888. This is almost precisely half the number sold in April last year.

Miserable sales figures have been overshadowed by the cheerful news that prices are stabilising. But that is cold comfort to those who make their living on sales commission.
The posh end of the market is where most of the overshadowing takes place. Forget the endless spin about how top end prices are moving up and that rich foreigners are buying again in Knightsbridge, Mayfair or, well, pick you spot.

The fact is that just 121 homes were sold for more than £1 million this April. In April 2008 the number was 246. The number sold over £2 million: two dozen — down from 62 last year.

It's clear that there is currently a certain amount of talking the market up in the media, mostly from agents.

Sadly "House prices crash" and "House prices soar" sell papers while "House prices don't move much" won't quite hit the front page.

Ultimately though, as Peter says, it's the transaction numbers that are the important ones if you earn your living from buying or selling houses.

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