buyers uk housing

Interested buyers flock to UK housing market in spring revival

There’s been a 141% increase in new buyers registering their interest at Propertymark member branches as the UK housing market builds up momentum once more. 

The latest findings from Propertymark, which analyses the activity of estate agencies and letting agencies across the UK, show a robust property market as we progress through 2023, with February’s figures reflecting a distinct increase in buyer interest.

In fact, on the buyer side of the UK housing sector, the average number of prospective buyers registered at each member branch jumped to 94 in February, up from 70 in January – and marking an increase of a huge 114% since the same measures were analysed in December.

Not only that, though, but there were 39% more properties listed for sale at member branches compared with February last year, showing a balancing out in terms of demand and supply. This will put less pressure on the market, while it remains extremely popular among buyers.

As the report points out, despite many bleak forecasts for UK housing this year towards the end of 2022, the latest figures in fact show a thriving property sector with little sign of buyer and investor demand abating.

UK housing: a balancing act

Getting the balance right between a healthy market and one where prices remain positive but not too steep comes down to numerous factors, from stock levels to interest rates to general market sentiment. Thankfully for UK housing, there is an underlying confidence in the sector when focusing on long-term trends.

As Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, points out, the latest data points towards signs of stability: “There has been a lot of doomy whispers about the housing market since last Autumn, but the activity being seen by Propertymark agents paints a robust picture.

“Transaction levels year on year have been stable and listings of new properties coming to the market have also been steady. Any indicators of something negative on the horizon would see these figures dropping below previous years.

“Prices have been affected by rising interest rates, but sellers are still keen to keep moving, and whilst interest rates are expected to rise again, they are not expected to climb excessively before reaching a level footing.

The average number of viewings for each available property also remained steady in February, at around three, but this was up from a December low of 1.8 viewings. Meanwhile, sales agreed per member branch is at the same level as this time last year, at eight on average for the month.

In terms of house prices, there was also little change month-on-month in the UK housing sector, with around 75% of agents reporting that most sales ended up being agreed below asking price.

What about the rental market?

On the lettings side, the level of tenant demand we continue to see is huge, and unfortunately supply is not matching up. This is pushing up prices and putting pressure on tenants, and means most landlords are seeing their properties snapped up very quickly.

The average number of tenants registering for properties at Propertymark’s member branches was 91 in February. This is only slightly down on last year’s figure of 94.

However, the average number of homes to rent was just nine per member branch, demonstrating the level at which renters are outnumbering homes in the current environment. It means there were around 10 tenants per property during the month.

Further to this, around half of member agents said that landlords had increased rents month-on-month, while 47% said they had stayed the same.

Emerson commented: “The lettings market remains very much out of balance, with an average of ten registered applicants per property. As demand continues to outweigh supply, pressure on rents has eased slightly since the peaks of last summer but it has by no means gone away.”

BuyAssociation is a property investment consultancy that specialises in the UK housing market. If you’re looking for your next home or investment property, get in touch today

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