Housing Insight Report: Economic uncertainty and seasonal trends impact property prospects

The latest Propertymark Housing Insight Report reveals a dynamic landscape in the UK’s housing market, with economic uncertainty and seasonal influences causing fluctuations. 

The report revealed that high inflation and interest rates persist, making market conditions challenging for all stakeholders in the housing sector. While numerous socio-economic factors continue to drive housing demand, recent data hints at a slight reduction. In September 2023, the average number of new prospective buyers registered per branch fell to 60, down from 81 in August. This dip can be attributed to the re-emergence of seasonal trends.

Gross mortgage advances saw a decline in the most recent available data from Q2 2023. However, commitment to new lending increased, reflecting a positive attitude from lenders. Loan advances to home movers and first-time buyers also showed growth between Q1 and Q2. Notably, buy-to-let advances dipped from 9.8% to 8.1% of residential loans, suggesting a possible slowdown in this sector.

What’s more, loan arrears continued to surge between Q1 and Q2, both in terms of the number of loan accounts and the amount of arrears. Additionally, there’s an upward trend in the number of adults struggling to meet their rent or mortgage payments. This trend is expected to persist, given the current economic conditions.

The average stock of properties available for sale per member branch decreased from 45 in August 2023 to 39 in September 2023. While this figure remains above the 12-month rolling average, it’s indicative of the challenges the market is facing.

Agents report an increasing number of properties taking 17 weeks or more for the exchange to occur. The persisting presence of legal and financial logjams within the system is a likely explanation for this trend.

Read full report here.

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