A DISPUTE has broken out about the reliability of figures that suggest city centre apartment sales have sunk to very low levels.
Figures produced by the Land Registry show the overall level of sales of new flats in Liverpool post codes L1 and L2 in the first three months of 2006 totalled just 34.
The Land Registry figures seem to give credence to long standing concerns that the city centre apartment market is over supplied.
There are also reports that a high proportion of sales that have been completed were to investors rather than owner occupiers, suggesting that many flats lie empty.
However the accuracy of the Land Registry figures is disputed by at least one local agent.
Phil Lawton a director of city centre residential property sales agency Sutton Kersh claimed that his Tithebarn Street branch alone had sold more flats in the same period.
Mr Lawton made his comments during a podcast interview with business editor Bill Gleeson.
Click here to listen to the full podcast on the Daily Post's dedicated business website at www. thebusinessweek.co.uk
Commenting on the Land Registry's figures, Mr Lawton said: "I find that staggering and very difficult to believe. I sold more than double that number from this office alone in the first quarter of this year, so I can't understand where they get their figures from.
"Potentially there could be a problem in the future, but the oversupply situation we have at the moment is no more than a blip in the market.
"The population of the city centre is growing steadily. That's not the problem. The problem is when a large development drops in to the market place it takes several months for that to become fully occupied and at present there are two or three developments within a quarter. It is the supply that peaks."
Evidence that the market is slow can be seen at Albany, the flats development on Old Hall Street in Liverpool city centre. The development consists of 123 flats, of which 70 have been sold. Only ten of the flats have been sold to occupiers. The rest have been bought by investors, according to a spokesman for the company. Developer Albany Assets is currently offering to pay two years mortgage interest for buyers.
An Albany spokesman added: "I do not believe there is a problem with over supply. Its simply that city centre living in Liverpool is still at a fledgling stage.
"At the moment some people don't want to live in the city centre because there are no friends or community around them.
"But that's beginning to change now as it did in Manchester and city centre living is starting to snowball."