Market roundup: ‘New normal’ housing market remains resilient

Our latest Property Sentiment Index showed that in April, confidence remained stable among serious buyers and sellers as stock levels also started to improve. 

Below, our Chief Executive Officer, Jason Tebb, summarises the key findings of our latest report: 

– 76% of active buyers in the UK were confident that they would purchase a property within the next 3 months

– 82% of sellers in the UK were confident that they would sell their property within the next 3 months

– 63% of properties were Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) within 30 days of first being advertised for sale, compared with 54% in April 2021

– Ingrained positivity in property market as serious buyers make their move 

 

While the high levels of buyer and seller confidence in April are consistent with the previous two months, there’s also strong evidence emerging of a more stable housing market. The frenzy of the past two years has settled into a more manageable, steady environment, a ‘new normal’ or elevated version of the pre-pandemic market. There are several headwinds, including the rising cost-of-living and the potential for further interest rate rises from the Bank of England; however, these factors have yet to impact sentiment.

The numbers speak for themselves. Our data shows that in April, 82% of sellers were confident that they could complete a sale within three months (the same percentage as in March and February 2022), with some regions even reporting an uptick in confidence. Sellers confident that they’d sell their home within the next 3 months rose to 82% in April in the East Midlands, compared with 75% in March. Seller confidence also rose to 83% in the East of England, up from 81% the previous month. London saw a slight drop-off, with the percentage of sellers confident they’d sell their property in the next 3 months falling from 86% in March to 82% in April, bringing it more in line with other parts of the country. 

Strong demand from serious buyers remains, with our data showing that in April, 63% of properties in the UK were SSTC within 30 days of first being advertised for sale. Again, behind this national average there are differences which reflect the diversity of regional markets; for example, 50% of properties were SSTC within 30 days of first being listed in London, compared with 79% of newly listed properties in Scotland. 

Buyers are also confident about obtaining the mortgages they need. While there have been four interest rate rises, taking rates up to 1% from the low of 0.1% seen during the height of the pandemic, mortgage availability doesn’t seem to be a concern. More than a third of buyers already had a mortgage agreement in principle in place in April, with only 1% of movers reported to be ‘very worried’ about mortgage availability. 

The number of properties newly listed for sale is slowly increasing and supply/demand economics suggest that if this continues, price growth will moderate. If there’s more choice of properties for sale and buyer numbers remain consistent, or even start to drop off, there could be a levelling off in activity and prices. However, the fundamental lack of stock at the present moment means that values will hold at a certain level.

While there may be further challenges to come, for now our data shows strong confidence from both buyers and sellers, which is continuing to fuel the UK housing market. There are many reasons why people need to move and there are plenty looking to do so. This is particularly true in the regions outside the major conurbations as they look their best right now with spring leaves on the trees – one of the reasons why spring/summertime is a natural time to sell. The challenges of the past two years have ingrained a sense of positivity in the housing market which shows no signs of slowing and as such continues to thrive as serious property seekers get on with the business of moving. 

You can read our full Property Sentiment Index here

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