The latest figures show some positive results in the UK housing market, as reported by estate agents and letting agents from across the country.
A new report released by Propertymark which assesses the state of the UK housing sector has found an “interesting change” in the sales market when looking at April’s figures.
The Housing Insight Report demonstrates that the supply of homes for sale has finally begun to rise, with member agents reporting a 70% rise in the number of homes for sale compared with the same time last year. Total stock of property available per branch in April was 34, compared with 20 in April 2022.
This recovery is good news for sellers, and also means the UK housing market has a greater range of choice available for buyers. It could reduce the rapid pace and competition we have been seeing, although this could also impact pricing.
Transaction numbers remained steady in April, too, which is positive for the economy as a whole. The average number of sales agreed per member branch was 8, unchanged from the last two month and also the same level as we saw pre-pandemic (2014-2019), indicating a ‘normal’ level of activity.
Is UK housing selling below asking price?
Propertymark’s report also found that buyer demand is definitely easing in the UK housing sector ahead of the summer. New prospective buyer numbers fell to an average of 70 per member branch, compared with 93 in March, and demand was 30% lower than last year.
However, 2022 was not a ‘normal’ year, most industry experts would agree, as the country – and the world – was still dealing with the after-effects of Covid, and UK housing market activity had accelerated to unprecedented levels. This also caused prices to surge above what would have been expected.
The number of prospective buyers carrying out viewings stayed largely the same, says Propertymark, with the average number per property remaining steady at 3.3. In December, this figure fell to a low of 1.8, although this month’s figure was 53% lower than this time last year.
All of this has an effect on asking prices, although there was little change month-on-month in this respect. Almost three quarters (74%) of agents said that the majority of their sales were agreed below asking price in April, showing a general dip in UK housing value – albeit an expected one.
What about the rental market?
The same patterns and trends we have been seeing recently in the lettings market seem to be continuing, according to Propertymark’s study, with demand continuing to significantly outpace supply on average. Of course, there will be some variations here depending on specific location.
In fact, there was a slight rise in the number of prospective tenants registering per agency branch in April, up to 118, and this has been climbing each month since February. This figure is 24% higher than April 2022.
Meanwhile, the scarcity of rental stock which has been a regular feature in many news stories on the sector in recent years persists. The number of available properties per branch was just 9 on average in April, which is the same as last year. So on average, there are 16 tenants per available property.
Inevitably, this equates to continually climbing rental costs, with 50% of agents reporting that average rents had increased month-on-month in April. However, this is 75% lower than a year ago.
Commenting on the latest UK housing market findings, Propertymark CEO Nathan Emerson said: “What we are seeing here is an interesting change in the property sales market year on year. The fall in demand from buyers has allowed the number of homes available for sale to recover some.
“But we are seeing a steady level of transactions happening which is good news for the market and the wider economy. Sellers should be prepared to be patient as it will be taking a little longer to receive an offer, but with the number of sales agreed remaining constant we know we have some solid and motivated buyers out there.
“In the rental market, we are still seeing the demand for property grow but no increase in homes. This means that pressure on rent prices is remaining, whilst new legislation will undoubtedly have a knock on effect, we desperately need more homes for renters.”