With 2013 now behind us it is time to reflect on the facts and figures that have shaped the UK property market in what has been an eventful and buoyant year.
With 2013 now behind us it is time to reflect on the facts and figures that have shaped the UK property market in what has been an eventful and buoyant year. This time 12 months ago the economy was slowly recovering from a double dip recession and we were releasing statements such as 'UK housing market shows slow signs of recovery' and the 'UK housing market continues a slow but steady recovery'. The early signs of growth were there but did we expect such a robust year?
Figures collated from Agency Express Property Activity Index show that in 2013 the UK housing market saw an overall increase in the total number of properties achieving a 'Sold' status by 47%, a huge leap compared to the small annual increase of 5% reported in 2012. Therefore making 2013 the highest annual increase since the Property Activity Index began in 2007. Key factors to this success has and continues to be government backed schemes and competitive rates from financial institutions; namely record low borrowing costs, the Bank of England's Funding for Lending scheme and George Osborne's Help to Buy scheme. These three factors have paved the way in rebuilding the UK property market.
Looking at the nations figures recorded by the Property Activity Index for 'properties sold' the year's top performing regions include: The South East with an annual increase of 95.3%, The North East 90.3%, London 70.8%, The East Midlands 68.2%, Yorks and Humberside 54.7%, The South West 54.6%, The West Midlands 51.5% & Central England 50%. A prominent year for sales across the country! Even at the lowest end of the scale Wales still saw an annual increase of 19.4% and with the recent launch of the Welsh 'Help to Buy' scheme on the 2nd January figures should continue to grow.
Events throughout 2013 not only brought back consumer confidence in buying properties we also saw an increase of properties coming on to the market. National figures recorded by the Property Activity Index show an annual increase of 13.6% in 2013 over the 3.7% recorded in 2012. The North East again earns the status of top performer with and annual increase of 63% marking them as the biggest contender in both supply and demand. Closely followed by The South East, keeping pace with an increase of 38%.
As we move confidently in to 2014 what activity could we see? Despite the Bank of England's withdrawal of the Funding for Lending scheme there is still a strong demand for mortgages. As recently featured in the press figures reported towards the end of last year from the British Bankers' Association showed a rise of 37% in home loan borrowing in comparison to figures for the same months in 2012. It was also stated by the British Bankers' Association that residential mortgage approvals were also up by 39% and that there had been a 20% increase in remortgaging, leaving us optimistic that growth will continue in 2014.
Commenting on the latest index results, Stephen Watson, Managing Director of Agency Express said: The Agency Express Property Activity Index highlights the substantial and fundamental growth we've witnessed over the past 12 month. As the UK's largest estate agency board service provider we are the first to witness growth in the UK property market. The services we deliver are tracked and closely monitored in our online Board Management System Signmaster3 and as a result it enables us to share the Property Activity Index with you. Figures reported by the index reflect actual real time events and the data is collated 24hrs a day 7 days a week, from a property being placed on the market to completion of sale. This year has been a fantastic for the UK property market and has been one of our busiest in many years. We have witnessed the usual seasonal dips but recovery from these has been swift. We are optimistic as we head 2014.