Highest stock levels in 15 months as buyer and seller sentiment show remarkable resilience

As stock levels reach their highest in 15 months, our latest Property Sentiment Index shows sentiment remains robust among serious property seekers despite considerable headwinds as the market continues to rebalance.

– 73% of active buyers in the UK were confident that they would purchase a property within the next 3 months

– 79% of sellers in the UK were confident that they would sell their property within the next 3 months

– 54% of properties were Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) within 30 days of first being advertised for sale, compared with 54% in August 2021

– Sentiment remains robust among serious property seekers

Our Chief Executive Officer, Jason Tebb, discusses the insights from our latest report:

The inevitable rebalancing of the housing market continued in August. Despite the well-publicised considerable headwinds and ongoing cost-of-living challenges we’re facing, sentiment among home movers remains robust. 73% of active UK buyers in August remained confident that they’d purchase a property within three months, down slightly from 75% in July. Similarly, sellers remained upbeat with 79% confident they’d sell their home within three months, slipping marginally from 80% in July.

While the overall sentiment picture remains relatively strong, there are regional variations. Last month we saw a marked dip in seller confidence in Greater London with 76% of sellers in July confident they could sell within three months compared with 85% in June. In August, that figure recovered to 84%. Meanwhile, as seller confidence improved in Greater London it receded in the North East, with 77% of sellers in August confident they would move within three months, compared with 83% in July.

We can see further regional variations when it comes to what buyers are looking for in their next property with new insights from our Wish List feature, which can be seen on page 5 of the index this month. Gardens remain top of many buyers’ wish lists, with ongoing demand for more outside space a continuing legacy of the pandemic. Parking and a garage are the next highest priority buyer demands across the UK as a whole.

How long properties take to sell is one of the key indicators of the health of the housing market, and this metric remained fairly robust even in August, when the holiday season tends to result in a slowdown in transactions. In August, 54% of properties were Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) within 30 days of being advertised for sale, compared with 57% in July 2022, and consistent with 54% when compared with August 2021. The dip in August 2022 compared with July suggests that seasonality has returned to the market as we’ve mentioned previously, and it’s perhaps surprising that the numbers are as strong as they are, given so many people took the opportunity to get away this year.

As we head into autumn, with the cost-of-living set to continue to rise, the expectation is that there may be less buyer competition for property. September tends to be the biggest listing month of the year after May, and with August seeing the highest stock levels since April 2021, this increase in the number of homes for sale may coincide with potentially fewer buyers. Some may decide not to move due to rising costs, whereas six months ago this may not have been the case.

Despite all the evidence of a rebalancing of the market, confidence would appear to remain among serious property seekers. The resilience of the UK property-seeking public and how they feel about the market is remarkable, yet provides a key indicator in terms of how UK consumers perceive the long-term value of ‘bricks and mortar’.

You can read the full report here.

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