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House sales slumped in two thirds of UK regions in 2018

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Property sales dropped in 241 out of 374 local authorities last year, according to analysis of Land Registry data.

The figures show England and Wales are in a ‘transaction crisis’ according to small homes provider Project Etopia, which studied the data. Overall there has been a 2.3% drop in the number of sales, despite low mortgage rates and further help for first-time buyers.

Stevenage and Newcastle-under-Lyme saw the biggest falls in transactions at 27% and 16% respectively. Cambridge, Wellingborough and Brighton were among the 10 places that experienced the largest drop in sales outside of Greater London. In the capital, Tower Hamlets and Croydon have been worst affected, with transaction levels dropping 22.5% and 15.4% respectively.

The best performing areas outside London were Chorley and Hull up by 17% and 14%.

Joseph Daniels, chief executive of Project Etopia, said: “Lack of housing stock means we’re on a merry-go-round of gyrating house prices in this country. This feeds into massive price gains that occur over just a few years, causing people to think of their house as an investment not a home.

“When storm clouds gather on the horizon they then guard their most valuable possession by sitting tight. If we had more stock, this boom and bust would be a thing of the past and the sands wouldn’t keep shifting under developers’ feet.”

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