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Housing stock dips slightly in March – Propertymark

  • 02/05/2024
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Housing stock dips slightly in March – Propertymark
There was a decline in the flow of housing supply and stock in March as buyer interest held up, analysis from a trade association found.

The Propertymark Housing Insight for March showed an average of 10 homes were put up for sale per estate agency member branch. This was marginally down on the previous month. 

Stock levels also fell slightly, with a small decline in the number of available homes for sale on each member’s books. 

There was a decrease in market appraisals too, which indicates the future flow of properties being put up for sale. This fell by 7% from 24 appraisals per branch in February to 22 in March. 

Although the level of housing stock showed a small decline, buyer demand sustained, with a 4% rise in potential buyers registering with each estate agency member branch. Viewing numbers were also up, at around four per property, which Propertymark said was in line with last year’s activity. 


Activity ticking along 

Propertymark’s analysis showed the average number of sales agreed stayed flat in March and broadly in line with 2023’s market. 

Asking prices were still above market expectations, but the gap had narrowed, and a smaller share of homes were selling for less than the asking price. Propertymark said that, despite this shift, buyers were still “in the driving seat”. 

The time to exchange remained lengthy, with most transactions taking more than 13 weeks to complete. 

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, said: “Interest rates remained static in March 2024, and although the changes were small, GDP and inflation continued to move in the right direction. Barring global shocks, we remain optimistic that inflation will continue its downward trend, eventually allowing for interest rates to be reduced.

“Demand increased within the residential sales sector, with the number of buyers registered and the number of viewings per property both increasing. On the supply side, new instructions decreased slightly. Stock levels also decreased but remain on par with the same period last year.” 


Rental supply improves 

There was a small rise in the number of rental properties available to tenants at each member branch. 

Propertymark said this fluctuated from month to month and, although there was an increase in rental stock in March, it remained within recent parameters. 

The average number of new prospective tenants registering per member branch fell from 89 in February to 82 in March. Propertymark said this pointed to a slowdown in demand, probably due to legislative changes and high rents. 

However, the demand and supply imbalance continued in March, as there were nine prospective tenants registering for each available property. This was slightly down on the previous month’s average of 10 prospective tenants per rental property. 

There was a small increase in tenancies agreed, but Propertymark said there were signs that uncertainty was slowing down the market. 


Fragmented rental market 

Average rents varied in March, with some estate agents reporting increases and others seeing falls. A small majority reported unchanged rents over the same five months, while a larger share saw increases over the same period. 

There was a decline in rental arrears, Propertymark’s figures showed, and the average void period increased from 2.2 weeks in February to 2.4 weeks in March. 

Emerson added: “In the residential lettings sector, tenant demand decreased, and stock levels increased marginally. However, demand continues to outpace supply overall, with nine new applicants registered for each available property. 

“Legislative change including the Renters Reform Bill and Housing (Scotland) Bill, continues to dominate the wider discourse. We continue to work with our members to lobby for change that supports investment, minimises unintended outcomes and enables a well-functioning housing system.” 

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