Housing Transaction Numbers Sliding

Over the past three years, the number of housing transactions has dropped significantly. 

According to the Q3 2019 edition of the Conveyancing Market Tracker from Search Acumen, there have been over 100,000 fewer transactions in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the equivalent period in 2016.

Unsurprisingly, the political and economic uncertainty during that period is front and centre when looking for causation. 

Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, said: “Every passing quarter of 2019 has brought more political headwinds to the property market due to Brexit related uncertainty. One hundred thousand fewer transactions so far this year compared to 2016 is an indicator of the ‘Brexit effect’ on an already cooling property market.

The report also cites a shift towards the largest conveyancers with a number of smaller firms no longer operating. In fact, despite overall declining transaction levels, conveyancing volumes are up by nearly 8% quarterly from 228,994 in Q2 to 246,816 in Q3, with a leap of more than 5,500 transactions – more than 10% – for the top ten biggest conveyancers.

Who do you believe? Election 2019

The conservatives are pledging to deliver 1 million homes in 5 years. A quick online search of ONS figures reveals the last time the UK built 200,000 homes in a year was back in the late eighties. And we have built around 880,000 homes in the past five years. 

So how do the conservatives propose the uplift in numbers?: through an overhaul of the planning system to encourage the private sector to increase production.

For Labour, the focus is on affordability. They are promising to build 100,000 council homes a year, which will be directly controlled by local authorities. In addition, they have also pledged 50,000 affordable home to buy through Housing Associations with affordability determined by local incomes. This will be financed by using half of its Social Transformation Fund

Finally, the Liberal Democrats are planning to build 300,000 homes per year with one-third of those being ‘social homes’

Bovis buys Galliford Try Partnerships

Bovis has agreed to buy the housing arm of Galliford Try, currently branded as Linden Homes and Galliford Try Partnerships, for a little over £1billion.

The acquisition will be funded by a combination of shares and cash giving existing GT shareholders a stake in the newly formed business.

The synergies for Bovis are threefold. Firstly, the new business will deliver around 12,000 new homes a year which puts it straight into the top 5 house builders in the UK. Secondly, it take Bovis firmly into the partnerships market offering the business greater diversity. Finally, the established locations of GT Partnerships in the north of England give Bovis fuller geographical coverage.

In his statement, Bovis CEO, Greg Fitzgerald, said: “I am very focused on successfully integrating these businesses in early 2020 with strong management across all business areas, and on delivering the clear benefits from the combination including at least £35 million of synergies as quickly as possible.”