Data shows drop in property sales

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Property sales over £40,000 dropped by 44% in the wake of the recession, Social Trends data released by the Office for National Statistics showed today.

Figures in its latest housing analysis, published annually showed that between 2007 and 2008 the number of property sales over £40,000 in Britain fell from 1.6 million to 900,000.

There was a further, smaller decrease in the number of transactions between 2008 and 2009 to 859,000 - a fall of 4.4%.

Property transactions across regions in England and Wales between 2007 and 2008 gave a similar picture, declining between 42% and 48%.

However, the number of transactions in Scotland fell by 33% and in Northern Ireland by 61%.

According to the ONS collective data, between 2008 and 2009 the number of property transactions continued to fall in six English regions, but rose in three.

The largest decreases in England between 2008 and 2009 were in the North East (13%), the North West (11%) and in Yorkshire and the Humber (10%).

The number of transactions increased in the South West (9%), the South East (6.3%) and the East (5.5%).

In Wales and Northern Ireland the number of transactions fell by 8.3% and 6.7% respectively, while in Scotland the number of transactions fell by 24%.

In 2009 the average price paid for a dwelling in the UK was £194,235, down 8.1% on 2008.

Changes in the average price paid for a dwelling over the same period varied very little between England and Wales, at 8.4% and 8.2% respectively.

Scotland saw a smaller decrease (2.6%), while Northern Ireland a much larger one - 15.7%.

The ONS data showed that in the latest recession, house prices fell by 12.5% between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 - the largest annual decline since the series began.

The first quarter of 2009 was the third consecutive quarter to show a decrease, and the decline continued for another two quarters.

Annual house prices started to rise, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009 (0.4%), and had risen to 10.1% in the second quarter of 2010, but then fell back to 7.5% in the third quarter of 2010.

The ONS data showed that in 2008/09, only 9% of all households in England (2.0 million) had moved to their current homes within the previous 12 months, the lowest number since records began in 1994/95.

The proportion of new households renting in the private sector increased from 40% in 1999/2000 to 66% in 2008/09 - the largest year-on-year rise was between 2007/08 and 2008/09 (19%).

There was a large fall in new owner occupier households over the same period - 13%, with the change in tenure mainly related to the difficulty in securing mortgage finance and the high deposits required by lenders, leading people to rent rather than buy.