Two Points Behind New-Build Headlines

Headlines about the latest figures from the National House Building Council, inevitably and rightly, concentrated on three things: the breadth of the recovery across the country, the particular strength of the London market, and how much of the startling 2013 new homes sales growth is down to Help To Buy.

But there were two other points worth noting.

Firstly, despite much comment on how the over-55s are equity-rich and the mainstay of new-home-buying, the NHBC figures for 2013 show a more nuanced story. Although the proportion of over-55 purchasers has grown, the largest group of buyers is in fact aged 25 to 34. So perhaps younger people are not all wedded to period homes, after all:

Buyers Under 25
2008: 8.3 per cent
2012: 7.1 per cent
2013: 5.6 per cent

Buyers aged 25 to 34:
2008: 33.9 per cent
2012: 33.0 per cent
2013: 30.0 per cent

Buyers aged 35 to 44:
2008: 24.6 per cent
2012: 22.6 per cent
2013: 21.7 per cent

Buyers aged 45 to 54:
2008: 15.4 per cent
2012: 15.6 per cent
2013: 15.7 per cent

Buyers aged 55-plus:
2008: 17.3 per cent
2012: 20.8 per cent
2013: 25.9 per cent

Secondly, look at how London's market skews the results when it comes to property types as well as prices, demand and the nature of buyers.

Across the UK and including London where most new homes are flats, the proportion of different property types registered in 2013 looks like this:

Flats: 38 per cent
Detached houses: 22 per cent
Semi-detached: 20 per cent
Terraced houses: 19 per cent
Bungalows: 1 per cent

But if you look at the UK excluding London, the 2013 shares look like this:

Detached houses: 29 per cent
Semi-detached: 26 per cent
Terraced: 24 per cent
Flats: 20 per cent
Bungalows: 1 per cent

These prove little - they are just one year's figures, after all.

But they perhaps hint that Britain's housing market is no longer solidly predictable nor particularly homogeneous. In other words, it's changing...and fast.

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