Buyer demand drops by a fifth

Michael Lloyd

February 27, 2019

In January, the number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch fell from 304 in December to 297, with year-on-year demand falling by a fifth (19%) from 367 in January, NAEA Propertymark has found.

This is as buyers hold off on making any decisions, in light of the current political climate. Supply of housing fell by 14% in January, from 42 in December to 36 per member branch, the same figure as January 2018.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark said: “January is usually the time where we’d expect to see house hunters flood the market following the festive lull; however, this didn’t happen last month.

“It’s normal that during a period of uncertainty, buyers put their plans on hold, and until there’s further clarity on what Brexit will mean for the market, we expect the level of house buyers to remain stagnant.

“However, it’s clear that people still want to sell their homes, and there’s properties available for those looking to move.

“While first-time buyers are taking advantage of this situation, those hoping to secure a property may well find the market is leaning in their favour, as the number of sales agreed per branch return to the level seen at the start of 2018.

“Although sellers are usually keen to hold off until they secure the ‘right price’, when the market is slow, they are typically more willing to negotiate. After all, when demand falls, and supply remains the same, it’s a buyers’ market.”

First-time buyers took advantage of weakened demand, as the number of sales made to the group increased for the second month running, from 24% in December to 26% in January

This is the highest recorded since July 2018, when 30% of sales were made to the group.

Following a dip in the number of sales agreed per branch over the last few months, this figure increased in January, from an average of five per branch in December, to seven. Year-on-year the number of sales agreed per branch remained the same.

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