Report shows 15 per cent increase in North West residential property sales

The Office of National Statistics has published its annual property report which shows that sales of residential properties has increased by nearly 15 per cent in the North West region in 2012 / 2013.

The region comes joint third with the East of England for growth after Scotland and London with 107,000 property sales in 2012/13 with a total value of £16.8m. The Annual UK Property Transactions Statistics report also shows an upturn in sales of properties across the price brackets with the most significant growth being at the high value end of the market.

Duncan Rawlinson, residential property specialist at Linder Myers Solicitors in Lancashire said: “This is a positive sign that the residential property market is starting to move again albeit not at 2007 levels, it is good news for both buyers and sellers as confidence slowly returns to the market. The North West is faring better than most areas of England and we’re certainly busy with new instructions despite news of more stringent measures being introduced to mortgage lending.

“Interestingly, the statistics show that the number of transactions at the higher end of the market with properties valued at £500k - £2m, and above, have remained high throughout the UK while the biggest slow-down has been for residential properties valued at between £40k - £250k although there is steady growth.”

The new mortgage lending rules mean that more stringent tests will be carried out on applicants to check affordability at a rate of 3 per cent higher than current mortgage rates and a cap being placed to limit the number of mortgages allowed for those looking to borrow more than 4.5 times their income.

Rawlinson continued: “The new mortgage rules are sensible and go some way in addressing the levels of over lending which arguably played a big part in the economic crisis and significant property downturn. The reality is however, that only a minority of borrowers will be affected by the changes in lending and more realistic purchases will be made which is in the long term interest of buyers.” According to the Office of National Statistics, the biggest increase in sales during 2012/13 was in properties valued at £1m with growth of 29 per cent across the UK while the lowest increase was for sales of properties in the £40k - £125k bracket with an 8 per cent increase in sales.