Improved affordability sees house sales double

60% of the towns that saw a rise in home sales in 2012 are in southern England1. This is in contrast to 2011 when towns in the north accounted for a larger share of the country’s property sales hotspots (58%).

The Suffolk seaside town of Felixstowe recorded the biggest increase in home sales in the first six months of 2012 with a 60% rise, followed by Brighouse in West Yorkshire (53%). In contrast, the two locations with the largest declines in home sales in the first half of 2012 are in Lancashire. Salford saw the biggest fall (-28%), followed by Leigh in Wigan (-27%). Overall, there were 282,086 home sales in England and Wales in the first half of 2012; 2.2% higher than in the same period in 2011 (275,953).

House prices in the 10 towns that saw the biggest increases in property sales in the first half of 2012 stand at an average of 5.8 times local gross annual earnings. This is nearly a fifth (18%) lower than the average multiple of 7.1 among the 10 towns that recorded the largest falls in property sales over the same period. There were notable exceptions to this trend with homes in Felixstowe (5.1) – the town with the largest rise in sales – less affordable than properties in Salford (4.2) – the area with the biggest drop in home sales over the past year.

House prices in the 10 areas that saw the biggest increases in home sales in the first half of 2012 have fallen by an average of 7% over the past four years. This was bigger than the decline in the towns that saw the largest falls in home sales over the same period (-5%). As a consequence, the average house price in the 10 top performing areas (£186,940) is 8% (£15,334) lower than in the 10 worst performing locations (£202,274).

Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB Housing Economist, said:

"It is encouraging that the number of towns across England and Wales seeing a rise in home sales has increased significantly over the past year. This highlights the very mixed state of the housing market at a local level compared with the rather subdued picture at a national level. Many of the top performing towns are in areas where improved levels of affordability over recent years have helped support demand for those able to enter the housing market."

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