October 28, 2017

There now seems to be a very different vibe to the property market, with a number of reports suggesting that in some areas the market is changing from being a sellers’ market something that looks a lot more like the beginning of a buyers’ market.

The latest survey by the RICS reports a 20% increase in the number of their members who reported a fall, rather than a rise, in buyer demand last month. This is the sixth month of reported falling buyer enquiries. This is partly substantiated by Rightmove reporting an annual fall of 5.9% in the number of sales agreed.

Overall, the level of new instructions entering the market has risen by 3.1% annually which, when coupled with the fall in new buyers enquiries, positions us for a rebalancing of supply over demand. Fortunately, house prices have generally remained reasonably strong in this area, but how long this can hold out is debatable, as some areas, especially in London and the South East, are already seeing significant house price falls.

On the other hand, this information is confused when Rightmove reports that asking prices rose 1.1% over the past month – the largest October increase since 2014. They did, however, warn that with more sellers chasing fewer buyers, sellers who are keen to move by Christmas would need to “work hard” (or rather their agent should!).

The problem is, in a confused market, every day there is one report or another that contradicts the previous one. Some can make depressing reading and others deliver a shot of confidence. Whilst we at Trading Places certainly have our finger on the pulse of the local market, and what drives it, ultimately our role is to help people move – whatever the market – and to do this successfully it’s important to, well put simply, know what’s going on. We speak regularly with a number of varying experts, including the guys down at L&C mortgages (the largest fee-free broker in the UK), local surveyors and solicitors but most importantly we speak to buyers and tenants, which is an excellent way to get a feel for the mood of the market where we are.

On a more positive note, which can always be found if you dig deep enough, locally the end of October we have seen activity pick up with an increased in the relative number of enquiries, both from buyers and tenants; in fact, there has been an improvement on the lettings side this month. We’ll have to wait and see if this November proves more fruitful than last year, when lettings activity all but fell off the cliff, with sales not far behind. Our money is on a more productive November this year, although the seasonal slow-down will arrive at some point, which in itself presents a possible opportunity for those looking to buy, who can move quickly without the need to tie-in the sale of their own property.