Where market activity has fallen off a cliff

The East Midlands, Wales and the South East have all seen drastically fewer homes sold in the first quarter of the year, research by estate agent Nested shows.

There was a 60% drop sold during Q1 2023 compared to the year before in the East Midlands and Wales.

Meanwhile the South East, which saw the most home sales, there was still a dramatic 58% drop this year.

Alice Bullard, managing director at Nested, the modern estate agent, said: “The higher cost of living, increasing interest rates, a disastrous mini budget and the resulting turbulence seen across the mortgage sector all had a significant impact on buyer demand levels during the closing stages of last year.

“While 2022 may seem a long way away now, what we’re currently seeing is the knock on effect from this reduction in market activity, with the lower level of sales agreed now reaching completion.

“The good news is that the industry has widely reported an uplift in activity almost immediately in 2023 and so while we’re yet to see this materialise in terms of actual homes sold, we can expect to see an uplift over the coming months as these sales finally reach the finish line.”

At local authority level, it’s Birmingham where the most homes have sold this year, with 1,070 transactions completing between January and March. Leeds (1,043), North Yorkshire (938), Cornwall (920) and Somerset (876) also make the top five.

However, regardless of total homes sold, every single area of the market across England and Wales has seen a decline in market activity when compared to the same period last year.

North West Leicestershire has seen the largest reduction. Between January and March of last year, 430 homes sold across the area. This year, just 118 transactions completed, a 73% annual drop.

Harborough (-70%), Anglesey (-70%), North Warwickshire (-69%) and Melton (-69%) also rank amongst the worst hit pockets of the property market to have seen the largest decline in homes sold.

At the other end of the table, Gloucester has seen the smallest reduction in transaction levels, although the number of homes sold has still fallen by -44% year on year.