Property sales across England and Wales have fallen by over a third compared with transaction numbers at the end of the housing boom in 2006. Last year, sales were well below the 1m mark, at 848,857.
The latest Land Registry figure is 7% lower than in 2015, and 34% lower than in 2006.
A new Lloyds Bank report out today suggests home owners may not be moving due to a lack of equity for a deposit or not finding the right location. Strangely, there is no mention of the impact of Stamp Duty or even mortgage lending requirements.
All regions saw a decrease in sales in 2016 compared to 2015, with the largest falls in Greater London, down 18% year on year to 94,000, and the south-east where there was a 10% fall to 203,923.
Sales in London and the south-east were 44% and 33% down on a decade ago respectively.
Both the east and west midlands fared the best annually with just a 1% decline to 74,547 and 80,921, followed by north-west England where there was a 2% drop to 96,552.
However, transactions have picked up compared with five years ago, when the market was deep in recession, with the number of sales in England and Wales as a whole increasing by 29% since 2011, buoyed by a 23% increase in the south-east and by 46% in the north-west.
However, transactions have stood still in Greater London over the last five years, rising just 2%.
Andy Mason, mortgage director at Lloyds Bank, said: “The recovery in the housing market has stumbled during the past year with sales declining in all regions.
“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.
“The decrease in the amount of people moving home could be caused by movers not being able to find the right home, in the right location, or those who don’t have enough equity in their current home to put down as a large enough deposit for their next mortgage.
“Add to this that the average cost of moving home is close to £11,000, with costs in London over £31,000, and these factors make it more challenging for those looking to move home.”