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02 Mar 2011

Strong increase in February house sales points toward resurgent UK housing market activity.

The results from the latest Agency Express Property Activity Index suggest that the UK’s winter housing market depression has ended as month-on-month houses sales in February were up 38.3% on January’s.

It ends three consecutive months of declining ‘Sold’ boards being erected and represents the highest level of sales since November 2010. Sales were still down 26.5% on last February (which was an exceptionally high month for sales in 2010) but 14.0% up on February 2009.

These figures provide encouragement for the months ahead as the number of house sales was 25.1% higher than the monthly average over the last 50 months, although they are still 59% lower than the market peak in May 2007

The level of house sales across the country was very positive with all regions seeing significant increases.

Leading the way was Scotland with a hike in sales of 62.1% followed by Greater London which was up 61.4%, the North West which saw a rise of 52.3%, the West Midlands which increased by 43.4% and the South East where sales rose 43.1%. The region with the lowest improvement in house sales was the North East but even here there was a creditable increase of 15.1%.

Three cities at least doubled the amount of house sales they achieved last month. In February, Leicester’s went up a massive 140.0%, Glasgow saw a rise of 114.3% and Coventry’s leapt 100.0%.  There were three cities that bucked the UK trend with declines in house sales. They were Edinburgh at -5.7%, Colchester at -5.6% and Nottingham at -2.6%.

The optimism seen in January for the number of properties being put up ‘For Sale’ continued into February with another monthly increase of 27.7%. Following the pattern of previous years, January and February have been months when there have been significant monthly increases in houses being put on the market.

February had the highest level seen since October 2010. Compared to last February the numbers were still down 10.4% but a massive 47.7% up on February 2009.

These figures provide encouragement for the months ahead, although it is pertinent to note that the number of houses put up ‘For Sale’ in February was 48% down on the market peak in May 2007 and 6.4% lower that the monthly average over the last 50 months.

All regions saw improvements in new ‘For Sale’ listings. Scotland saw a rise of 64.2% followed by the East Midlands at 48.0%, Wales at 47.8% and the West Midlands at 47.5%. Central England saw the smallest increase of 6.9%.

The cities that saw the greatest increases in the number of new ‘For Sale’ instructions in February were Edinburgh ( 122.9%), Bristol ( 70.1%), Glasgow ( 61.9%), York ( 55.7%) and Southampton ( 53.3%). Colchester registered a pretty significant fall of 29.0% – the only city in the index to see a decrease.

02 March 2011 11:52 GMT+00:00    Posted By: Lewis Harmer
04 Jan 2011

Debt & pensions Britons biggest financial regrets

A recent survey of UK adults by a national bank has revealed that a large proportion of the population regret not taking a longer term view of their finances.

Fifty-three per cent of UK adults stated that their greatest regret in 2010 was not paying off debts more quickly; while a over a third (37%) identified not saving for retirement earlier as their biggest financial woe.  Eighteen per cent regret spending too much in the run up to Christmas and 14% regret spending too much on a partner.

While property is still seen as a valuable investment as 14% regret staying in a rented property too long, one in ten (9%) people regretted buying a house. Importantly with the impending rises in tuition fees, 7% regret taking out a student loan. However, when it comes to love, it seems that money is no object as just 4% regret spending money on an expensive wedding.

04 January 2011 12:59 GMT+00:00    Posted By: Lewis Harmer