House price cuts in the UK have hit a five-year high, as sellers slash their asking prices to attract buyers during a seasonal lull.
More than one in three available properties (37 per cent) currently listed on Rightmove are now asking a lower price than when they first came to market, reveals the UK portal’s new research – the highest proportion at this time of year for five years.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “In the run-up to the festive season many sellers are trying to tempt distracted buyers to look at their property by dangling the bauble of more attractive pricing… Many sellers who have been on the market for a while are curbing their initial pricing optimism and are hoping that reducing their property price will result in buyers selecting it as this year’s must-have Christmas gift.”
A drop in new seller asking prices is the norm at this time of year in the run-up to Christmas, and the 0.8 per cent fall (down £2,392) is the smallest that Rightmove has recorded in November since 2007, in the early period of the credit crunch. However, with the largest proportion since 2012 of existing sellers at this time of year who have reduced their initial asking prices, Rightmove suggests that new sellers are being too optimistic by not discounting by a greater amount.
For those who have had to reduce their asking price at least once, the average size of reduction between first marketing price and current asking price is 6.3 per cent. Analysis of those properties that actually sold last month after having reduced their prices shows that their average reduction between initial and last advertised asking price was also 6.3 per cent. For these sellers, their price reductions tempted buyers to make an offer, and a sale has now been agreed.
Shipside advises: “Given that the market has been price-sensitive for a while and a five-year high proportion of sellers are slashing their prices, some sellers and their agents are over-pricing.”
Rightmove analysis of over 100,000 properties that successfully sold shows that those that sell typically generate over 40 per cent more online interest in the first three weeks than those that do not sell.
“The danger of going too high at the outset is that you jeopardise that vital initial three-week period, and may have to start on a series of price reductions while potential buyers watch and assume that no-one is buying your property because something is wrong with it other than the price,” explains Shipside.
“Those who are struggling to sell may hope that the Chancellor lends a helping hand in the forthcoming Budget and gives the market a boost by reducing Stamp Duty or at least declaring a Stamp Duty holiday for first-time buyers,” he adds. “However, with buyers’ finances already increasingly stretched by rising property prices in recent years, they now have to contend with the reality rather than speculation of rising base rates, up for the first time in over a decade.”
UK house price growth cools as heat comes off summer market
22nd August 2017
Heat is coming off the UK housing market as the seasonal summer lull strikes.
New figures from Rightmove show that the holiday season casts its usual shadow, with the average asking price of property coming to market fallen by 0.9 per cent this month.
The average price dipped £2,758 from £316,421 in July to £313,663 in August. While that is 3.1 per cent higher than at the same point last year, it still marks a notable chill in the rate of annual growth.
A price fall when the summer holiday season is in full swing is “not unexpected”, notes the UK portal, with both buyers and sellers having holiday distractions. Indeed, this drop is very much in line with the average for this time of year, which has been -1.2 per cent over the seven years since 2010. The market in 2017, though, faces some well-documented headwinds, from affordability to political uncertainty.
Nonetheless, the national average clouds regional variation. While this has traditionally been a North/South divide, hotspots bucking the slowing trend now tend to be in the middle of England.
Eight counties are enjoying a mini-boom, with year-on-year rises of over twice the pace of the national average, and they are all in the middle band of the country. The top three are Northamptonshire (up 9.1 per cent), Derbyshire (up 7.9 per cent) and Norfolk (up 7.4 per cent).
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “With newly-marketed property seeing a monthly fall of 0.9 per cent and a muted yearly rise of just 3.1 per cent, the heat has come off much of the market. A combination of traditional summertime price blues and the chill of uncertainty in the air has cooled price growth in some parts of the country, and affordability also remains very stretched. But despite these factors, high demand and limited supply are still driving momentum, especially in the counties in the middle of the country. Here, year-on-year rises at over twice the pace of the national average are widespread, in contrast to southern and northern counties where none have approached these heady heights.”
“With a shortage of suitable choice in many parts of the country, buyers are becoming increasingly adept at hunting down property that fits their budget, ticks the boxes on their checklist and stirs their emotions. Properties in the counties that have seen above-average price rises over the last year are clearly meeting the needs of home-hunters at relatively affordable prices,” adds Shipside. “Conversely sellers in the counties performing below par are having to ask for lower prices in order to sharpen up the appeal of their properties. Wherever sellers happen to be,they must not forgetthat buyer affordability has become increasingly stretched, and in this environment if you ask too much at the outset you are likely to lessen the chances of a successful sale.”
UK asking prices fall for first time since 2009
20th June 2017
The average asking price for homes in the UK has fallen in June for the first time since 2009, according to new figures from Rightmove.
The UK portal’s latest report shows that the previous momentum in the housing market stalled in June for the first time in almost a decade, with prices dipping by 0.4 per cent – the first decline in this year so far. Nonetheless, the number of sales agreed at this time of year is the second highest for 10 years, only slightly lower than the high recorded in May 2014.
Indeed, transactions rose 7 per cent year-on-year, highlighting the different pace at which regional and sector markets are now moving. Overall, the annual rate of price increase has slowed to 1.8 per cent, the lowest since April 2013.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, says that there is “no doubt” that lack of stability is a factor.
“The price of property coming to the market had increased in June in every year since 2009, so buyer confidence has clearly been affected by inflation outstripping their pay packets and current political events,” he explains. “However, demand is still high and markets in some parts of the country seem to be getting used to coping with instability and are still strong. The high levels of sales being agreed show that the underlying fundamentals are largely unchanged with high first-time buyer demand which drives movement higher up the ladder, all aided by the cheap cost of borrowing.”
The typical first-time buyer sector with two bedrooms and fewer is now the fastest growing sector, and has seen newly-listed prices surge by 3.5 per cent month-on-month and 5.5 per cent year-on-year.
Shipside observes: “Those at the traditional starter level are brushing aside uncertainty, with demand being fuelled by the ongoing desire for home-ownership, government assistance, and mortgage repayments often being cheaper than rent for a similar property. Increasing prices in this sector have not been enough to shake off the wish to own your first home, whilst in contrast sectors higher up the ladder with a larger proportion of discretionary movers have seen the greatest recent price wobbles.”
The number of sales agreed compared to a year ago is up markedly more in the northern regions than in the South. All regions are up on the post-stamp-duty lull period of May 2016, with a national uplift of 7 per cent, but the northern average of 11 per cent far outstrips the southern average of 3%. This follows through to property prices with the London (-2.4 per cent) and South East (-0.9 per cent) regions recording the largest monthly falls in the price of property coming to market. These London and South East figures account for a significant proportion of the total market and have dragged down the national figure, which would be in positive territory without these two slower-performing regions.
Shipside adds: “The swingometer may be leaning towards a buyers’ market in some parts of the country, having been given another tilt in that direction by political uncertainty, but demand for housing and lack of buyer choice are maintaining a sellers’ market in others.”
Kevin Shaw, national sales director at estate agency Leaders, adds that they have “started to see a slight hardening of attitude from buyers so sellers need to have realistic expectations and be prepared to be flexible in negotiations”.
UK house prices rise for fifth month
22nd May 2017
The average asking price for UK property has risen for the fifth month.
The average asking price for UK property has risen for the fifth month, according to Rightmove. The UK portal’s latest index shows that the price of a hosue coming to market climbed 1.2 per cent in May 2017 to a new record of £317,281. Over the last year, prices have therefore risen 5.4 per cent, suggesting that any uncertainty in the run-up to the General Election and Brexit negotiations are failing to knock momentum out of the market. Indeed, year-to-date sales are now 2 per cent higher than in the previous election year of 2015.
Demand and a shortfall of supply continue to underpin price growth, with family homes proving to be the strongest sector for price growth.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “While all-time high asking prices or economic and political uncertainty could be deterrents to would-be home-buyers, this month shows another strong set of figures. Demand is exceeding supply in many parts of the country and continues to push up the prices of newly-marketed homes. Spring is in the air and home movers are springing up the housing ladder.”
Rightmove research shows that home-owners with children under 11 years old are twice as likely as the average person to be moving home.
“Those with the greatest motivation to move are often those with growing families, with their need for space or access to schools outweighing uncertainties that might cause others to delay their future housing plans,” adds Shipside.
UK asking prices hit record high
24th April 2017
Asking prices of UK homes have reached a record high, climbing 1.1 per cent in April 2017, according to Rightmove.
The figures, released by the property portal today, show that the average price of a property on the market has risen by £3,547 month-on-month, to reach £313,655. Values have risen 2.2 per cent year-on-year. While the rise in prices is a positive indicator for the property market, at a time when the looming Brexit is feared to cause a slump, the overall annual pace of increase continues to slow: the rise of 2.2 per cent is the lowest for four years. Nonetheless, sales are strong.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director, comments: “High buyer demand in most parts of the country has helped to propel the price of newly marketed property to record highs. There are signs of a strong spring market with the number of sales agreed achieved at this time of year being the highest since 2007. It remains to be seen what effect the run-up to the snap election will have, though any slowdown in activity will be counter-balanced by the market’s current fast pace. Indeed, in locations where choice of suitable property is limited hesitation could mean losing out to others who still decide to act.”
The first-time buyer sector is driving growth, with prices climbing 6.5 per cent annually to a new record of £194,881.
Shipside notes: “Increasingly stretched buyer affordability will continue to be a price moderator for sellers who are over-ambitious with their pricing, tempering the pace of price rises. Strong buyer activity this month has led to 10 per cent higher numbers of sales agreed than in the same period in 2016. This large year-on-year disparity should be viewed cautiously as the comparable timespan in 2016 saw a drop in buy-to-let activity with the additional second home stamp duty. However, they are also up by 3.8 per cent when compared to 2015. With the growth in household numbers and new-build supply struggling to keep pace, demand is strong and has led to the highest sales agreed numbers at this time of year since the heady pre-credit-crunch levels.”
The Midlands leads house price growth
20th March 2017
The Midlands is leading house price growth in England and Wales, according to Rightmove.
The average price of newly marketed property jumped 1.3 per cent month-on-month in March 2017, with the ongoing shortage of supply pushing up values. Indeed, a larger monthly rise at this time of year has only been recorded once since 2007, an indicator of the continuing resilience of the market, as well as its underlying fundamentals – the monthly growth is on par with March 2016, when the market was boosted by the rush to beat the inntroduction of the stamp duty charge for buy-to-let purchases.
Nonetheless, the market is undergoing a gradual shift and, rather than the market traditionally being driven by the north or south of the country, the two Midlands are now leading the way in Rightmove’s house price index.
The fastest pace of price rises anywhere in the country compared to this time a year ago is in the East Midlands, up by 5.7 per cent (+£10,801) year-on-year – ahead of the national annual average growth of 2.3 per cent. On a monthly basis, the East Midlands also led growth with prices up 2.1 per cent.
The price of property coming to the market in the area is at a record high, breaking through the £200,000 barrier for the first time to £200,620. The West Midlands region has the second highest annual increase with prices up 4.2 per cent (+£8,658) and matches the East Midlands’ 2.1 per cent monthly rise (+£4,321). The region with the next biggest year-on-year rise is the East of England at 3.9 per cent (+£12,885), held back by a much more subdued 0.8 per cent (+£2,712) monthly rise.
“The pace is no longer being set by the more affluent commuter-belt south, including London with its international appeal,” says Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst. “Neither is it set by the cheaper north driven by a mass of investors swooping on high buy-to-let yields. As markets in other areas of the country become more mature and run out of price-rise steam and froth, the fundamentals of the Midlands have come to the fore. Accessibly and conveniently located in the middle of the country, the area offers mid-range and relatively affordable prices at an average of around £200,000, whilst also exhibiting local economic breadth and strength.”
While market fundamentals remain robust, Rightmove’s data also highlights the slowdown in growth in property values, with the annual increase of 2.3 per cent significantly lower than the 7.67 per cent annual rise recorded in March 2016.
“Meanwhile many would-be first-time buyers are being left waiting on the platform struggling to even get on board,” he adds. “Modest average wage rises and tighter lending criteria have limited buyers’ ability to pay more. While credit is cheap, if there are limits on its availability then the pace of rise has to slow even though demand for housing is high. Many buyers are being forced to be price-sensitive, so sellers have to be wary of over-pricing if they want to sell.”
UK house price growth at slowest since 2013
20th February 2017
UK house price growth is at its slowest since 2013, according to Rightmove.
The UK portal’s latest report shows that asking prices increased 2 per cent year-on-year in February 2017, well below the average 5 per cent uplift recorded in Februarys over the last seven years and the slowest rate since April 2013, when prices climbed 2.3 per cent.
Early 2016 was boosted by frenzied buy-to-let investors rushing to beat the April stamp duty deadline which makes this year look subdued by comparison, says Rightmove’s report. However, demand remains strong with visits to the site up 3 per cent in January 2017 compared to January 2016, marking new record levels for the first full month of the year.
The slower rate of price increases makes it riskier for sellers to over-price their property, cautions Miles Shipside, Rightmove director.
“Perhaps we’re approaching the territory where many buyers are unable or unwilling to pay what sellers are asking, given the negative combination of rises in the cost of living, tighter lending criteria, and a dose of Brexit uncertainty,” he comments. “The housing market has had a long sprint since April 2013 when the annual rate was last below this level, so it’s not surprising that upwards price pressure is running on tired legs with average prices today being 23 per cent or nearly £60,000 higher than they were then. This surge in the cost of home-ownership highlights some of the issues referred to in the government’s recent White Paper on fixing the broken housing market.”
Rightmove’s analysis shows sellers are 40 per cent more likely to sell if priced right when they first come to market.
Rightmove forecasts 2 per cent rise in house prices
12th January 2017
Rightmove is forecasting a 2 per cent rise in house prices this year, following a strong end to 2016.
The price of property coming to market in November saw its usual seasonal fall of 2 per cent, but the property portal highlighted the surprising strength in buying activity in its latest report, with transactions agreed up 5.2 per cent year-on-year in the penultimate month of 2016.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “For the housing market the uncertain outlook has meant a head and heart tug of war between ‘stay put’ and ‘carry on moving’. After a pause the mass-market seems to have opted firmly for the latter in most parts of the country.”
Shipside welcomes the rise in deals as providing “a far greater level of reassurance about the outlook for 2017″.
Indeed, despite increasingly stretched affordability continuing to weigh on house prices, the portal predicts prices will grow 2 per cent across the UK, with a fall of 5 per cent in Inner London and an increase of 3 per cent in Outer London.
Shipside predicts: The price of property coming to market in 2016 is currently up by 3.4% compared to a year ago, so while a forecast rise of 2% in 2017 is a lessening of the pace, it would still be the seventh consecutive year of rising property prices.”
“There was a bout of jitters with the unexpected referendum result, albeit now seemingly short-lived, but more may arrive after Article 50 is invoke,” he adds. “For the time being any nervousness is being over-ridden by high demand for the short supply of suitable homes for sale in the lower and middle market in many parts of the country.”
UK house prices forecast to climb 2pc in 2017
12th December 2016
UK house prices are forecast to climb by 2 per cent in 2017, following a strong month of sales activity.
Rightmove’s latest monthly report shows that house-hunting bucked the usual seasonal lull with demand up in November 2016 compared to 2015; website visits jumped 9 per cent, while sales climbed 5.2 per cent nationally and rose in all regions except for London.
Rightmove predicts that this momentum will continue in 2017, as long as banks continue to offer financing at affordable rates. Supply levels, though, remain tight compared to a year ago, in terms of both new-to-the-market listings and available stock for sale. Fresh supply is “little changed”, says Rightmove, being only 2 per cent, which means that the number of available properties for sale per estate agency branch is down by around 5 per cent, dropping from an average of 59 to 56. This imbalance has continued to underpin property price growth in the months since the UK voted to leave the European Union.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst comments: “For the housing market the uncertain outlook has meant a head and heart tug of war between ‘stay put’ and ‘carry on moving’. After a pause the mass-market seems to have opted firmly for the latter in most parts of the country. As we come to the end of the year these figures showing high levels of sales agreed and dwindling numbers of homes for sale give a far greater level of reassurance about the outlook for 2017 than was previously available.”
Nonetheless, the uncertainty plus increasingly stretched affordability will “continue to weigh on house prices”, adds Shipside.
“Our forecast for 2017 is for modest price growth of 2 per cent nationally. We forecast Inner London to remain weak and prices to fall by a further 5 per cent in 2017, as its price bubble continues to deflate, whilst Outer London is predicted to record a similar increase to this year of circa 3 per cent. The price of property coming to market in 2016 is currently up by 3.4 per cent compared to a year ago, so while a forecast rise of 2 per cent in 2017 is a lessening of the pace, it would still be the seventh consecutive year of rising property prices. As well as prices moving out of reach for some buyers, the sword of Brexit uncertainty hangs over the market, an unknown factor that may – or may not – have damaging consequences for the economy and confidence. There was a bout of jitters with the unexpected referendum result, albeit now seemingly short-lived, but more may arrive after Article 50 is invoked. For the time being any nervousness is being over-ridden by high demand for the short supply of suitable homes for sale in the lower and middle market in many parts of the country.”
UK house prices prove resilient during winter lull
14th November 2016
UK house prices are proving resilient this November, despite the usual seasonal lull.
The price of property coming to market has fallen by 1.1 per cent (£3,452) this month, according to Rightmove’s latest house price index, although the site hails this is as a “relatively strong” performance, outperforming the drop of 1.8 per cent that has been the average for the last six years.
However, resilient prices also mean that obstacles remain for first-time buyers hoping to get on the housing ladder. Indeed, their typical target property type of two bedrooms or fewer was the only sector to see month-on-month price growth, with values up £1.7 per cent (£3,256). This now puts their annual rate of increase up nearly £15,000 to 8.2 per cent, notes Rightmove, double the average percentage growth rate in other market sectors.
Rightmove director Miles Shipside comments: “As well as helping people’s home-ownership aspirations, activity at the bottom rung of the ladder helps the rest of the market to move and through that boosts the wider economy.”
Shipside hails this week’s Autumn Statement as an opportunity for the government to introduce measures to help first-time buyers facing an affordability crisis.
“Short-term options that might be top of a first-time buyer’s list would be a stamp duty holiday exclusive to them. However, there are dangers to increasing demand unless this is matched by policies to improve supply, and more radical steps need to be taken to remove some of the barriers preventing more affordable homes to buy and rent from being built in the right locations,” he adds.
UK house prices up two months in a row
19th October 2016
UK house prices have risen for the second month in a row, following the EU referendum.
The latest figures from Rightmove’s House Price Index show that the average asking price of homes coming to market increased 0.9 per cent in October, following a 0.7 per cent in September. This increase takes the national average to £309,122, just 0.4 per cent below the record set in June of this year.
However, while the market is showing signs of returning to normal, the country’s north/south divide is also still present. In the north, it is a sellers’ market, while in the south, buyers have the upper hand.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, comments: “Agents in the northern half of the country reported a quiet week or two after the surprise result of the Brexit vote, but most then saw a quick return to good levels of buyer enquiries and subsequent sales agreed. In contrast, many in the southern regions saw more prolonged hesitancy among buyers, with it taking until September before a marked pick-up in activity.”
The other normality for the market is the ongoing shortage of supply, which has plagued the country for several years – a shortfall that is underpinning price growth in both the north and south of the country, as demand begins to return. In the full month of September, sales agreed recovered after the summer lull and are now down just 4 per cent nationally compared to the same period in 2015 and up 6 per cent on 2014.
“Given that the housing market in the second half of 2015 was buoyed by the surprise of a majority government, overall sales activity seems to be recovering well after an especially quiet summer in some southern parts of the country,” says Shipside.
UK house prices begin post-Brexit rebound
UK house prices are beginning to rebound following the country’s vote to leave the European Union, putting the squeeze on first-time buyers.
The average price of property coming to the market at the start of September rose 0.7 per cent, according to Rightmove, a partial rebound from the fall of 2 per cent seen over the two previous months. The rise is lower than the 0.9 per cent recorded at this time of year in both 2014 and 2015, but it contrasts with the four preceding years, 2010 to 2013, which suffered marginal price falls.
“The market continues to shake off the effect of post-Brexit vote uncertainty, though more so in the lower end sector,” says Miles Shipside, Rightmove director. “Buyers are still looking and enquiring, but there are limits on their willingness or ability to pay over the odds so sellers should be wary of over-pricing unless their local market can really justify it.”
Indeed, the lower end of the market, where first-time buyers are attempting to get on the housing ladder, has seen an average increase in the price of newly-marketed property of 3.3 per cent this month, with prices up 10.5 per cent (£18m450) over the last year.
“Some of those trying to get onto the property ladder may have wistfully listened to speculation of lower prices in a post-Brexit Britain. While the referendum result has created additional downwards price pressure in some upper segments of the market that were already slowing, those who do not own a home and arguably have the greatest housing need are now finding it harder to achieve their goal in the post-Brexit-vote aftermath,” adds Shipside.
The first-time buyer property sector has already seen significant upwards price pressure this year, due to a surge in buy-to-let sales before April’s stamp duty surcharge on second homes, and a subsequent shortage of available stock
for first-timers in May. The next rung up the ladder, on the other hand, has
seen prices increase by just 0.5 per cent this month and a much more modest 5.2 per cent year-on-year.
The figures arrive as the typically busy autumn house-hunting season starts, with the first full week of September already seeing visits up 8 per cent week-on-week.
UK house prices dip, as summer slowdown takes it toll
15th August 2016
UK house prices have fallen 1.2 per cent this summer, according to Rightmove, as the usual seasonal slowdown takes its toll.
The property portal’s latest house price index show the average asking price of a UK home in July 2016 was down £3,602. While Brexit may be blamed for the dip, though, summer is the real culprit: the dip is in line with the 1.2 per cent average drop recorded at this typically subdued time of year over the last six years. The summer slowdown follows on from a period of uncertainty surrounding the UK’s EU referendum, which means that the slowdown is even more evident in the previously racing London market and surrounding commuter belt.
The number of days to sell has increased the most in London and South East in the last two months. Larger homes are now taking longest time to sell and are also suffering the largest drop in price, with first-time buyer and second-stepper type property doing the best.
2016 will be a year of two halves, says Rightmove director Miles Shipside. Indeed, activity surged in the first half of the year, as investors rushed to beat the deadline for the stamp duty surcharge, bringing transactions that would normally occur later in the year into 2016’s initial months.
July’s buyer enquiries to agents fell 18 per cent compared to the election-boosted month of 2015, but were up 4 per cent on July 2014.
What will the second half of the year bring? The outcome hangs on the strength of the traditional autumn market rebound, especially at the upper end of the market and within the London commuter belt.
“Many prospective buyers take a summer break from home-hunting, and those who come to market at this quieter time of year tend to price more aggressively,” comments Shipside. “Most sellers seem to recognise that buyers may want some extra encouragement to get them to put their towel on a property to reserve it as well as on their sunbed! The average fall in new seller asking prices at this time of year has been 1.2 per cent over the last six years, so this month’s fall is exactly in line with the long-term average. The largest price falls at this time of year were 2 per cent and 1.3 per cent in 2014 and 2010, with the smallest fall being 0.8 per cent in post-election boosted 2015.”
UK house prices down, but summer is to blame not Brexit
19th July 2016
UK house prices fell 0.9 per cent in June, according to Rightmove’s latest report, but summer is more to blame than Brexit.
Seasonal slowdowns are common in the hot months and the dip of £2,647 is “within usual expectations” of the run-up to the holiday window, says Rightmove. Year-on-year comparisons have painted the market unfavourably, notes the portal, as the same period in 2015 was fuelled by a post-election boost, which means enquiries from buyers are 16 per cent lower in 2016. Compared to 2014, though, which was not distorted by the electrion, buyer enquiries are at the same level, with “most agents” reporting continuing market momentum.
“Sellers seem undeterred – compared to the same period last year, the two weeks pre-referendum saw the number of new properties coming to market down by 8 per cent, and the two weeks post-referendum saw them up by 6 per cent,” says the report.
“Though many estate agents report that business is now returning to the previous norm following the surprise result, it is in our opinion too early to draw any medium or long-term conclusions,” says Rightmove analyst and director Miles Shipside.
Indeed, since 2010, the month of July has recorded average price falls of 0.4 per cent.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly this July’s fall is marginally larger, as political turbulence has a track record of unsettling sentiment,” adds Shipside. “Indeed last year saw a seasonally unusual 0.1 per cent fall in the run up to the May election, and a June and July price surge as a result of the post-election boost. Average new seller asking prices were up by 3.1 per cent over that two-month period.”
With available property for sale per estate agency branch 16 per cent lower in 2016 compared to 2014, enquiries per property remain “remarkably resilient”, says Rightmove. Agents say few deals have fallen through as a result of post-Brexit nerves, while low mortgage costs show no sign of climbing, which means that demand is still being driven forwards, despite any short-term uncertainty.
“Agents in areas where stock shortages were driving momentum before the referendum say activity has recovered quickly, with buyers’ fear of losing a scarce property a key factor,” comments Shipside.
“While confidence has been unsettled, the governmental instability in the few days after the referendum now seems to be being addressed far more quickly than was originally imagined. This is not a new credit crunch and the effect on banks and mortgage lending should be limited. As long as lenders keep mortgage deals attractive and available, the underlying demand for home-ownership should overcome most uncertainties.”
The figures arrive at the same time as the latest ONS House Price Index, which highlights the underlying fundamentals at work, albeit before the Brexit vote: according to the ONS, UK house prices rose 8.1 per cent year-on-year, continuing strong growth seen since 2013.
The average UK house price was £211,000 in May 2016. This is £16,000 higher than in May 2015, and £2,400 higher than April 2016.
England led the way, with house prices up 8.9 per cent annually to £227,000, followed by Wales (up 3.6 per cent to £143,000) and Scotland (up 4 per cent to £141,000). On a regional basis, London continues to be the region with the highest average house price at £472,000, followed by the South East and the East of England, which stand at £306,000 and £265,000 respectively. The lowest average price continues to be in the North East at £124,000.
The local authority showing the largest annual growth in the year to May 2016 was Slough, where prices increased by 23.3 per cent to stand at £287,000.
Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, comments on the ONS data: “Since these figures – for May – it’s likely that house prices have already fallen to some extent in parts of the country. British property
buyers are weathering a storm of uncertainty, and the hatches were battened down a little in the first week or two after the Brexit vote. But this is a storm, not climate change. Beyond a couple of months’ volatility, the real drivers of UK property values have hardly changed. Across the country there are still too few homes to match demand, and if anything the construction of new homes is now slowing – all further strengthening the long-term prospects for investors in the UK property market.”
Shipside concludes: “The summary so far based on two weeks of post-Brexit-vote statistics is that the housing market remains steady, underpinned by the same fundamentals that have led to its recovery since the last downturn.”Google+