The south has often asserted itself as the more powerful market in terms of housing, but as sales began to soften over the year a clear north/south divide opened up, with house markets in the north of the country proving to be more resilient.
Sales slip in the south
Research carried out by Halifax on the statistics released by the Land Registry revealed that home sales in England and Wales in the first eight months of this year were 8% lower than in 2014, with all regions posting a drop. However, by examining the results more closely, it becomes apparent that the greatest declines occurred in the southern areas: Greater London posted the largest regional decline in sales (-14%) and 10 of the towns recording the biggest decreases were found to be in London and the South East.
Meanwhile, the North East saw the smallest drop (-3%) in sales. The north was also host to towns that bucked the overall trend and posted the largest increases in sales: all 10 towns that experienced the greatest increases were outside southern England, with the biggest rises seen in Salford in the North West (23%) and Pontefract in West Yorkshire (20%).
Craig McKinlay of Halifax attributes some of the overall softening in house sales to "an acute shortage of properties for sales", which served to add to "the constraints on activity". However, he added that several towns, which were largely in the northern area of the country, were able to post more positive results, a circumstance that could have been brought about by the "relatively low" prices of the north.
New Year, new home?
If you have been thinking about getting on the housing ladder in 2016, or perhaps moving a few rungs up, then it's time to get organised!
The most important thing to do is to save up a decent deposit. If you're a first-time buyer, you may like to check out the Help to Buy ISAs – they allow you to save up for your first home with a little added help from the Government. If you're not eligible, you can still save! Regular savers may be ideal as they encourage you to put aside a sum of money every month – check out the best ones in our charts.
Once you have the money, it's time to find the right mortgagee. Our best buy charts are a great place to start. Make sure you look at the overall cost of the deal, and not just the headline rate. That way, you can be sure you are getting the most from your money!
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