Pre-election property supply up, but for how long?

The number of properties coming to market has increased, with an uptick in demand also reported in the latest Housing Insight Report from estate agency membership and training body Propertymark. The report covers the month of April, just before Prime Minster Rishi Sunak announced the July 4th General Election.

The average number of prospective new buyers registering at Propertymark branches increased from 76 to 88 from March to April 2024. And the number of available properties per branch increased from 35 to 40 in the same period, a general upward trend from a low of 19 in January, peaking at 40 in August 2023. New listings instructions per member branch increased from 9 in March 2024 to 12 in April 2024. There is evidence of seasonality returning to the market as Q3 and Q4 both saw the traditional pre-Christmas lull in new listings, before an increase in Q1 2024.

The report also track the average time from offer acceptance to exchanging contracts, which remains historically high.

Source: PropertymarkThe positivity is tempered by the Q4 2023 mortgage stats which show a reduction in both gross advances and new commitments, with sentiment around affordability continuing its upward trend around people finding  it ‘very or somewhat difficult’ to pay their rent or mortgage. Propertymark also report the gap between asking prices and market expectations continues to narrow but remains significant and a barrier to speed of sales.

Source: Bank of England: mortgage-lenders-and-administrators/2023/2023-q2

With most measures of supply and demand up on the sales side of the market, alongside the reduction in the rate of inflation, there is hope  the Bank of England may reduce the base rate, says Propertymark CEO Nathan Emmerson

“Although the economic environment remains challenging, there is some positivity in the air. GDP is estimated to have grown by 0.4% in March and inflation (CPI) reduced from 3.2% in March to 2.3% in April, which is within touching distance of the Bank of England’s target. We remain hopeful that a much-needed reduction in the base rate will occur in the near term.”

“The residential sales sector has seen an early flurry of activity in April with prospective buyer registrations, new sales instructions, and the number of sales agreed all increasing. However, challenges remain. Although the gap between asking prices and market expectations continues to narrow, further realignment is required to keep the market moving. Furthermore, those seeking to move home before Christmas, need to be cognisant of elongated exchange times and act now”

The report can be reviewed in full here. 

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