There are more buyers and sellers in a wider UK housing market than at the time of the EU referendum a little over a year ago, according to a new survey by property website Rightmove.
The survey found the number of sales agreed up by 4.6% in June 2017 compared with June 2016 – with over 45% of estate agents’ property stock now being sold subject to contract.
Cumulative sales agreed during 2017 are almost on a par with the same period in 2016, down by 0.4%.
The first six months of last year was boosted by the rush to beat the April 2016 stamp duty deadline.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said the fundamentals of the market remained strong: “Low unemployment, low interest rates, strong demand and historic undersupply of homes are mitigating any wobbles in confidence and as a result nearly half the properties on the market, over 45%, have sold signs slapped across them.”
The survey shows that the national average asking price for a first home buy has dropped by 1.7% since last month to £196,450 – a figure that is still higher than a year ago.
And the first-time buyer sector is the highest riser in the market during 2017.
Stretched buyer affordability continues to act as a price brake.
Though all regions have seen year-on-year price rises, the national average stands at a ‘relatively subdued’ increase of 2.8% to £316,421.
A survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) published last week showed that the average number of properties available per agency branch had fallen to an all-time low in June, at just over 42.
Brian Murphy, head of lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau, added: “The average time to sell, standing at 60 days in this month’s [Rightmove] report, has remained broadly unchanged now for the last quarter, and also points to market consistency in most areas that again flies in the face of some who might suggest that the market is in negative territory.
“Quite to the contrary, all of these indicators would point to a calm, steady and functioning UK market, with perhaps those consumers who did decide to ‘wait and see’ in the lead up the election now deciding to simply get on with their move, adding yet more motivated movers into the mix in most parts of the UK.”
Overall, the survey shows the West Midlands as experiencing the greatest price rises in England and Wales during 2017 – 6.1% higher than last year.
Next best performer is the East Midlands, with price growth of 4.9% followed by Yorkshire and Humber at 4.1%.
The weakest growth outside of central London over the past 12 months is in Greater London on 0.9%, followed by the North East with 1.6%.
Russell Quirk, founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, said the signs of seller interest were ‘encouraging’ in at least picking back up post-election.
“Although the current parliamentary situation is far from strong and stable, we’re already seeing elections blues sidelined and the market return to a semblance of normality now that some of the dust of political uncertainty has started to settle.
“We saw a similar hangover from the EU Referendum in which the market took a good month or so before kicking back into action.
“It is likely that should these figures ring true, we could see a reverse in the cooling price trends reported over the last month or so, but heightened seller activity must be matched on the buyer’s side of the market in order for this to happen, otherwise, we could see the reverse.
“After all, Rightmove’s data is based largely on listed stock and asking prices and is just a mere toe dip into the UK property market pool and it doesn’t necessarily portray the overall temperature of the market as a sale agreed doesn’t guarantee it will be completed.”