The Midlands Market in Relation to the UK
The number of sales going through across the UK has been steady according to the latest HMRC Property Transactions Statistics, despite signs of slowing house price growth over the back end of 2014. Residential property transactions were up by 2.3 per cent in December by the HMRC year-on-year measuring criteria. The total number of completed applications put to the Land Registry was 1,175,230 in December.
This figure includes applications regarding registered land deals; applications to gain official copies of title plans, surveys, and other documents; property searches; and transactions for value – all of which were completed. The figure does not count pending applications lodged during the month.
The regional breakdown of the HMRC makes for interesting reading for those who follow the Midlands property market and that of Birmingham especially. It comes as no surprise that in the regional figures London and the south-east are far ahead in the number of completed applications. The south-east saw 268,149 and the Greater London area 226,272 applications in December but such is the population concentration and market conditions that these areas will always see far more transactions than the rest of the UK.
The Midlands saw a total of 185,841 applications – 98,219 in the West Midlands and 87,622 in the East. The north-west, in comparison, saw 128,128; the south-west saw 114,718; Yorkshire and Humberside 93,982; and the whole of Wales only 54,806.
The most encouraging element of the data is how well the Midlands market is holding up. Moreover, when applications made to local authorities are also considered Birmingham leads the UK with 17,610 – higher than Westminster with 17,139 and Leeds with 13,364.
This continues a long-term trend that has seen the market boom in the city, boosted by the number of young professionals working in major firms that set up in Birmingham in the 1990s. Land Registry house price data shows average prices across the whole of England and Wales fell in November 2014 by 0.1 per cent. However, the West Midlands topped the areas that bucked the national trend and saw growth in November with prices rising by 1.7 per cent – half a percent higher than growth in London which was 1.2 per cent.
So it seems demand in the West Midlands especially remains strong. The Midlands housebuilding firm Crest Nicholson have predicted demand in 2015 for Birmingham properties will remain high. In 2014 they saw an 8 per cent sales increase on the previous year. New builds registered with the National House Building Council in the West Midlands rose in 2014 by 16 per cent, the second highest in England and a greater increase than either London (10 per cent) or the south-east (11 per cent).