If anyone thinks that the confusing political shenanigans of the past few weeks have destabilised the property market, they’d be wrong. If anything, we are seeing more “lubrication” in the market, as sellers realise they’d be foolish to hang on for an overly ambitious sale price in the run-up to Christmas. This in turn has freed up the market, with more undecided sellers committing to moving, as there now appears to be more choice of properties available for sale. Indeed, Rightmove reports a 16% jump in new properties coming to market in the first week of September.
In support of this increased buoyancy the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reports a “broadly stable” housing market, once again emphasising the wonderful “Keep Calm and Carry On” mentality of the British!
Asking prices are “behaving”, with the price of newly marketed properties for the last reported month averaging a 0.7% increase. This is broadly in line with the medium-term average for September, although the annual 1.2% is somewhat subdued. Of course, asking prices do not always reflect actual sale prices, which will be a more accurate barometer of the market in the coming months. But the signs are good.
In terms of sales volumes, the prime London market (over £750,000), which can be seen as an indicator of confidence levels overall, is finally improving with a jump of 6% over this time last year, as the previously stretched buyer affordability ratios are now levelling out. Everyone knew London was overheated!
The Land Registry figures show an annual 3.1% increase in UK house prices, the lowest for five years, which can only lead to continued sense and stability in the market.
Interestingly, rents rose in 40% of cases last month, despite the number of tenants registering falling by 19% nationally (source:ARLA) and stock availability rising by 7%. Could this be pointing towards a rent peak in the coming months? Research by Paragon suggests that 21% of landlords expect to sell some of their buy-to-let properties in the next 12 months, versus only 9% who expect to add to their portfolio.
Whatever your plans, please regard us as your local experts in property, and contact your local branch for advice before you make a move. We know what we’re talking about and we offer straight-talking, good advice with a smile, to anyone who’ll listen!
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA MIRPM
Chief Executive Officer