UK house sales lowest since 2012

The number of homes sold across the UK this year is set to be the lowest for more than a decade, according to new figures from Zoopla.

Tracking the number of homes sold subject to contract so far in 2023, the property website found that sales are currently down 21% compared to last year.

Completions for the full year are expected to reach around one million. It will be the lowest number of property sales since 2012 and the equivalent of every household moving once every 23 years — well below the average of eight years.

Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla, said that this increase “highlights the deep impact of recent economic changes on the housing market”.

High mortgage rates and cost-of-living pressures have impacted property sales by making it harder for potential buyers to borrow what they need to get on the housing ladder or move home.

In the last four weeks, demand from buyers is 34% lower than average in the same period over the last five years (2018-2022).

The net decline in property sales this year is largely from mortgaged buyers. Zoopla expects the number of mortgaged sales to drop 28% on last year, while houses bought with cash — where buyers are not relying on a mortgage — will fall just 1% compared to 2022.