December 4, 2016
November 2016 property market report

The property market depends on fluidity and activity to be regarded as healthy. This year the number of transactions has been light, based on a dearth of supply. This has itself fed the problem with sellers being reluctant to put their property on the market if they only have a limited choice of onward purchase.

But this seems to be easing. Last month, HMRC reported a 1% increase in transactional volumes – a small but significant step in the right direction that compares very favourably with the 4.3% drop during the previous month (although still 8% down on the same time last year).

There is a feeling that with all the current woes of the world, the market might just be beginning to peak, with perhaps an interest rate rise a distinct possibility, albeit previous chatter was of a further rate reduction. According to one national firm of estate agents, buyer demand is down 22% on the year and there are still nine buyers registered for every property available.

Rightmove tells us that the price of property coming to market is on average down 1.1% this month. The pressure might be off FTBs slightly in the short term with the news that letting agency fees for tenants are to be abolished, although this may have the effect of pushing up rents in the medium to long term.

The announcement in the autumn statement by the Chancellor that the government is to inject £2.3billion into housing is certainly to be welcomed, although is unlikely to have any effect on actual supply for at least two to three years. 

Annually, the Land Registry reports average house prices across the UK are up 7.7% at £217,888, reflecting some stability in the market during a politically turbulent year. 

November has been a tale of two halves and markedly slower than October, although we have experienced continued demand for family houses. This general drop in activity is fully expected given the time of year; however the autumn sales market did indeed prove productive and we are further encouraged to believe there could be an early start to the 2017 spring market.

Lettings activity has all but fallen off the cliff in the last week, demonstrated by the reduced number of tenant registrations. Landlords with a vacant property should consider a price change or prepare to hold out until next year. The coming 2 weeks are crucial so don’t hold off from making a strategic marketing change if you cannot wait until the market picks up in January.

The number of available properties has continued to reduce; however most tenants seeking a move have already made provisions to push this over to next year, so the remaining tenants who are willing/need to move asap are being snapped up very quickly. Consider all offers / scenarios as they might be few and far between in the next few weeks.