Iain Hill is relationship manager at Equifax
Last month we highlighted that 2016 has been one of the most unpredictable years in recent memory. We also hoped that October could build on the September’s 6.2% growth in Prime business and 19% growth in buy–to-let (BTL). What did October deliver?
The outcome is somewhat disappointing. Prime business, at £12.2bn was almost exactly the same level as reported in September and still £1bn less than what was written in June.
In addition to the flat performance for Prime business, September’s BTL gains have gone into reverse, with October’s overall BTL sales dropping by 5.25%.
Combining both products, the overall market decline from September is 1% as detailed in the graph below.
Looking at October performance by distribution channel, sales through directly authorised brokers increased by 0.13%, while appointed representative brokers fell by -2.14%.
Regional area performance was again mixed, although mostly down. The Home Counties and South Coast reported positive figures with increases of (2.54%) and (1.03%) respectively. South West remained flat with a very slight increase of 0.03%. All other areas reported negative growth, with Northern Ireland (-8.7%), Scotland (-5.2%) and the North West (-3.7%) showing the steepest decline. London declined by -2.6%.
Talking to the sales teams, we were optimistic that October would build towards a strong finish to 2016. There is certainly a lot of market activity. Once again, we have been left scratching our heads about why the overall numbers have not continued upwards. Seems to be one step forward, followed by one step back on a monthly basis.
With six weeks left to year-end, it will be very interesting to see what can be achieved. There certainly seems to be a keen focus on getting as much over the line as possible.
In this highly volatile market, keep your finger on the market pulse.