Property sales in the six months to September 2013 rose to their highest level since the start of the housing downturn in 2007, according to new research.
At 396,756, sales of properties in England and Wales were 21% higher than in the same six months in 2012. It's also the highest year-on-year rise in a decade for the six months to September timeframe, a Lloyds Bank survey has revealed.
Property sales, however, have not recovered to 2006 levels – they were still 41% below the market peak of 673,699 recorded in the six months to September in 2006.
Top of the survey was Newham in east London, which recorded the largest increase in home sales with a 62% rise in the six months to September 2013. Other top performers were Redhill in Surrey (sales up by 56%), Farnborough in Hampshire (52%), Salford in Greater Manchester (51%) and Walton on Thames (50%).
Poor performers included Crowborough in East Sussex, with home sales declining by 10% and Caterham in Surrey and Hyde in Greater Manchester (both recording a 9% decline). Six of the nine towns registering a drop in sales were in the South - although the decline was modest.
Better affordability helped to drive home sales up in areas with the biggest increase. House prices in the 10 top-performing towns have an average of 6.3 times local gross annual earnings, as opposed to 6.9 among the nine towns that recovered falls in property sales during that six-month period.
Marc Page, mortgages director at Lloyds Bank, said: "Since spring 2013 housing activity in England and Wales has been on the rise, with home sales in the six months to September up by over a fifth compared to the same period a year earlier. This increase is the strongest on this basis in over a decade.”
He added: "Low interest rates, improvements in consumer confidence and Government schemes, such as Help to Buy, all appear to have contributed to the rise in home sales."