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Housing supply and demand slip in December – Propertymark

  • 26/01/2024
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Housing supply and demand slip in December – Propertymark
There was a fall in the number of homes placed for sale in December, as the total reached just five per estate agency branch, data from a trade body showed.

The Propertymark Housing Insight Report for the month revealed this was down from an average of six per estate agent in November, and nine in October. 

Market appraisals fell to the lowest point of the year at 10 per branch, down from 16 in November. Propertymark said this was likely to impact stock levels in January. 

Housing stock levels remained stable from November to December which the association put down to usual seasonal trends. 

Buyer demand also dropped due to the seasonal period, falling from an average of 49 prospective buyers registering with each estate agency branch in November to 34. While this was put down to the time of year, Propertymark said a general downward trend had also been noted. 

People focusing on the festive period resulted in a drop in average viewing numbers. 


Propertymark: Agreed sales slide 

The number of agreed sales per branch declined to an average of four per branch in December, down from six in November. While this tracked with seasonal trends, Propertymark said there was an overall decline in the last three years. 

There was a small rise in the number of agents reporting that homes were selling for less than asking price alongside a slight fall in homes being agreed at the seller’s asking price. Propertymark said this was a sign that “valuations and market expectations remain misaligned”. 

The property exchange time saw “marginal improvements” in December, likely because of the pre-Christmas rush to complete. However, Propertymark said the time to complete on a sale was “historically lengthy” which had implications for both buyers and sellers. 

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, said: “In the residential sales sector, we have reached the trough of the seasonal trend that begins in Autumn and runs to Christmas. Key supply and demand indicators, such as the number of buyers registered and number of new sales instructions, are at their lowest points in the year.  

“As we head into 2024, pressures remain on house prices, with further adjustments required to match valuations to market expectations.” 


Tenant demand falls 

The average number of new prospective tenants registering with each estate agency branch dropped markedly from 86 to 63 month-on-month. 

Rental stock levels continued to be constrained on a monthly basis but when compared to last year, the level of stock available was flat. 

Tenant demand is still outstripping supply with an average of seven potential tenants for each rental property. 

The average number of newly agreed tenancies fell slightly in December. 

The number of agents reporting a rise in rental prices rose from 31 per cent in November to 35 per cent in December, while fewer saw a drop in costs at 15 per cent of respondents in December compared to a quarter the month before. 

Rental arrears rose in December and the average void period between tenancies lengthened slightly from 2.2 weeks in November to 2.4 weeks. 

Emerson added: “The lettings sector is subject to the same seasonal trends resulting in tenant demand and new tenancy completions being lower than the previous month. Regardless there remains a supply and demand imbalance with around seven new tenant registrations for each available property.  

“While rents continue to ebb and flow with some seeing rises in December, 49 per cent of agents reported rents staying the same suggesting some restraint. Looking forward to January, we can expect a lively start to the year, whether or not this sets the pace for the year as whole will depend on the stability of the wider economy and the actions of policymakers.” 

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