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Nearly all properties sold for less than asking price in October, say Propertymark agents

  • 01/12/2023
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Nearly all properties sold for less than asking price in October, say Propertymark agents
Some 90 per cent of properties on the market sold for less than their asking price in October, estate agents have said.

This information was gathered for the Propertymark Housing Insight for the month, which showed that the share of properties selling for less than the asking price was significantly higher than 76 per cent in September. 

Propertymark said this was part of a longer trend which hinted at a “mismatch” between valuations and market expectations. 

There was also a drop in prospective buyers registering with estate agency branches, as this declined 13 per cent month-on-month from 60 people per branch in September to 53 in October. This was also a sign of a steady decline, as it was down from an average of 81 in August. 

However, Propertymark said this reflected seasonal trends and corresponded with a downturn seen last year. 

The average viewings per property remained steady at two per property across August through to October, but Propertymark said there were “concerning” signs of a long-term downward trend. 


Drop in supply 

The number of new homes coming to market at each estate agency branch fell to an average of nine in October, compared to 11 in September and 13 in August.  

As a result, there was a decline in available property stock. This came to 37 in October, down from 39 in September and 45 in August. 

The number of appraisals also fell, hinting at future stock levels. Estate agents conducted an average of 18 appraisals in October, compared to 20 in September and 25 in August. 

On average, estate agents saw seven sales agreed across the month which was slightly down from eight during the month before. Propertymark said sales agreed had sat between six and eight over the last 10 months.  

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, said: “The Autumn statement had an upbeat feel and yielded some positive news for the housing industry. However, this is no time to celebrate. The cost-of-living crisis continues to limp on, and the International Monetary Fund forecast that the UK’s growth will be the slowest in the G7, whilst its inflation will be the highest. The resultant uncertainty continues to impact the housing market.  

“In the residential sales sector, interest rates remain high, causing first-time buyers and movers to think twice.” 

Propertymark’s research showed that sales were taking longer to complete as estate agents reported that three quarters of transactions took at least 13 weeks or longer. Around 31 per cent of transactions took longer than 17 weeks. 

The firm said this was a “long running and slightly concerning trend”. 


Rental supply under pressure 

Available rental stock remained constrained and decreased to 10 in October. Although the average number of prospective tenants also fell to 86 during the month, there were still proportionally more people looking for rental homes than the number of properties available. 

The average void period between tenancies came to 2.3 weeks. 

Fewer agents reported that rents were rising, with 44 per cent citing this. This was less than 52 per cent of estate agents noting increasing rents in September, 68 per cent in August and 71 per cent in July. 

Additionally, 14 per cent of agents said rental prices had fallen, compared to four per cent the month before. 

Estate agents also said there was a drop in rental arrears in October. 

Emerson added: “In the letting sector, the number of new prospective tenants registered per member branch has decreased month on month since July 2023. However, demand remains high with around nine prospective tenant registrations per available property. This continues to have an impact on rent levels.  

“So too does the continued legislative uncertainty in each of the home nations, which clearly weighs upon landlord investment decision making. For example, this month, 72 per cent of the properties that left our agents’ management were due to the property being sold. It is clearly time for UK legislators to consider more carrot and less stick.” 

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