First-time buyer sales are down and landlords are exiting the market, according to the latest figures from NAEA Propertymark.
Over the course of 2018, demand was lower than last year with an average of 324 house buyers registered per branch, compared to 366 on average throughout 2017.
The number of properties available to buy hasn’t changed drastically year-on-year, with 38 available per branch throughout 2017 and 39 in 2018, hitting a two-year high with 46 in September. However, supply has dropped significantly over the last ten years, from 89 on average per branch in 2008.
The number of sales agreed per branch throughout the year fell in 2018, from nine on average per month in 2017, to eight this year. Historically, this figure has remained fairly consistent, only moving between 12 and seven from 2008 to now.
Despite the fact first-time buyers (FTBs) benefitted from stamp duty relief in 2018, the proportion of total sales made to the group fell by 1% point year-on-year – from 26% on average in 2017 to 25% in 2018.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “2018 has been a busy year for the property market, with the government launching several consultations to address important issues – most notably to regulate the sector, improve the buying and selling process, and address the issue of leaseholds.
“The housing market has notably slowed, particularly over the last couple of months, which could be a by-product of Brexit uncertainty, as buyers hold off on purchases until the outcome is clear.”
ARLA Propertymark’s overview of the private rented sector found that the supply of rental accommodation dropped slightly in 2018, from 189 on average per branch in 2017, to 187 this year.
It reached an annual high in October, when letting agents were managing 198 per branch.
In line with this, as landlords continued to face legislative change, the number of buy-to-let (BTL) investors selling their properties increased from an average of three in 2017 to four in 2018. In April and May this year, the figure spiked to five per branch – the highest since records began in 2015.
The number of tenants experiencing rent hikes also increased this year, to 25% each month in 2017, to 28% on average this year.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “The number of landlords exiting the rental market is rising, and those who aren’t worried about it yet, should be. BTL investors have faced a huge amount of legislative change over the last 18 months alone, and as costs rise, they are being driven out of the market and new ones are being deterred from entering.
“The government is developing a joined-up approach for legislating the private rented sector, but until this has been put into action and the market is made more attractive for landlords, rents will continue to rise, competition will intensify and tenants will continue to suffer.”