Home sales slump in 2016: Lloyds

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The number of house sales dropped in every region of England and Wales in 2016, according to Lloyds Bank.

The lender says more than 80 per cent of towns saw sales fall in the year.

There were 848,857 house sales across England and Wales in 2016, down 7 per cent from 915,096 the year before.

Greater London suffered the biggest falls, with 18 per cent fewer sales in the year while the East and West Midlands saw the smallest dip, with sales volumes down just 1 per cent over the year.

Brent in Greater London and Berkhamsted in the South East saw the greatest drop in sales numbers, down 30 per cent on the previous year.

East Midlands town Retford recorded the greatest jump in sales, up 15 per cent on 2015.

First-time buyers accounted for some 49 per cent of property purchases in the year, up from just 36 per cent in 2015.

Lloyds Bank mortgage director Andy Mason says: ‘The recovery in the housing market has stumbled during the past year. Despite record low interest rates and Government schemes, such as Help to Buy, sales remain significantly below the levels seen at the height of the last housing boom.’

Rising housing costs are thought to be one of the major factors holding back sales. The average cost of moving home is now almost £11,000 and more than £31,000 in London