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Housing market sees ‘flurry of activity’ in April – Propertymark

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  • 04/06/2024
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Housing market sees ‘flurry of activity’ in April – Propertymark
There was a rise in prospective buyers, sales instructions and sales agreed in April as the market saw a “flurry of activity” during the month, data from a trade body found.

The Propertymark Housing Insight report for April revealed the average number of new prospective buyers registering per estate agency branch rose from 76 in March to 88 the following month. 

Meanwhile, there was only a marginal fall in the average number of viewings per property, which dropped from around three-and-a-half per property to three. 

There was a rise in new housing supply in April, as measured by new sales instructions, which averaged around 12 homes being put up for sale per estate agency brand. This was up from the previous month’s average of 10. 

Consequently, estate agents reported an uptick in the number of properties for sale on their books. 

Market appraisals, which also indicate future housing supply, increased from 22 in March to 26 in April. 

There was an average of nine agreed sales per branch in April, which was up from the previous month’s average of seven sales. 

 

Asking and sold price gap narrows 

Propertymark found that, while there was still a difference between asking prices and market expectations, the share of homes that sold for less than the asking price dipped. 

Nathan Emerson (pictured), CEO of Propertymark, said: “The residential sales sector has seen an early flurry of activity in April with prospective buyer registrations, new sales instructions, and the number of sales agreed all increasing. However, challenges remain. Although the gap between asking prices and market expectations continues to narrow, further realignment is required to keep the market moving.

“Furthermore, those seeking to move home before Christmas need to be cognisant of elongated exchange times and act now.”

The data revealed that the time to exchange continued to fluctuate, but was still “historically high”, with a large share of transactions taking more than 13 weeks to complete. 

 

Tenant demand climbs 

The average number of new prospective rental tenants per branch rose from 82 to 90 month-on-month. 

Propertymark said this pointed to increased demand. 

There was a small rise in rental stock levels, but this continued to be outstripped by demand. 

In April, nine potential tenants registered for each available property. 

He added: “In the residential lettings sector, our members report an increase in the number of prospective tenant registrations.

“However, while stock levels have increased slightly, demand continues to outstrip supply, with around nine new applicants registered for each available property in April 2024.”

There was still instability regarding rental prices, as 47% of estate agents said they remained the same since the previous month and 41% reported an increase. 

Emerson said: “Rents continue to fluctuate, although there are signs that, in some areas, rents have reached a ceiling in terms of affordability. More broadly, our members remain concerned that some landlords are choosing to exit the sector. The reasons for exit are multifaceted, although ongoing legislative uncertainty is undoubtedly playing a role.

“We continue to work with policymakers across the UK to highlight the critical role the private rental sector [PRS] plays in the wider housing system and to encourage policies that can stabilise the sector’s investment patterns.” 

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