Number Of House Sales Agreed Reaches Ten Year High

News at Maxwell Hodgson | 27/04/2017

Monthly UK Housing Report - March 2017 - From NAEA

Supply of Houses Available to Buy at Lowest Level for March Since Records Began

  • The supply of available homes is at the lowest level for March since records began in September 2002
  • Number of prospective house buyers also decreased in March
  • A quarter of sales were made to first-time buyers

Supply of properties

  • The number of properties available to buy on estate agents’ books decreased to 39 in March, from 44 in February
  • This figure is the lowest amount recorded for March, since records began 16 years ago in September 2002 [see figure 1]
  • Year on year, supply is down 28 per cent as agents had 54 properties available to market last March.

Property Supply March 2014

Figure 1: Number of properties available per branch in March since 2005

Demand for properties

  • The number of house buyers registered per member branch fell in March as well. Estate agents had an average of 397 prospective buyers on their books last month, compared to 425 in February
  • In March last year, there were 417 prospective buyers registered per branch, meaning demand has fallen by five per cent year-on-year.

Sales to first time buyers (FTBs)

  • The proportion of sales which were agreed for first-time buyers (FTBs) rose to 25 per cent, up from 22 per cent in February
  • The total number of sales to FTBs dropped significantly to 22 per cent in February, from 30 per cent in January, so this rise is a step in the right direction.

Sales agreed and what properties sold for

  • The average number of sales agreed decreased in March, to 10 per branch. In February, 11 sales were agreed per branch, the highest number recorded since September 2007
  • In March, one in every 20 (five per cent) properties sold for more than the original asking price. This figure has continued to rise since the low of 12 per cent seen in November 2016.

Stamp duty reforms – one year on

  • A year on since the higher rates of stamp duty for additional properties was introduced, two thirds (64 per cent) of agents have seen demand for properties from buy-to-let investors decrease
  • Just under two fifths (37 per cent) have seen house prices increase as a direct result of the stamp duty reforms.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “There are currently 10 house-hunters chasing each available property, and with supply at the lowest level for March since records began, building more homes to satisfy demand needs to be a priority. In line with this, while sales to FTBs rose slightly in March, they’re still much lower than the levels seen in the last three months of 2016 which is cause for concern. The upcoming General Election is a good opportunity for each Party to outline their plans for tackling the housing crisis – we hope to see it prioritised so we can make the market a better place once and for all.”