Iain Hill is account director at Equifax Touchstone
After the significant drop in both prime and buy-to-let sales in July coupled with unseasonal gains in August we were intrigued to see what was the next twist in what has been a very unpredictable year.
The outcome is that September has been very encouraging. Prime sales growth of 6.2% is slightly ahead of August’s growth rate and continues the climb back to the monthly high enjoyed in June.
September’s BTL sales performed extremely well with growth of 19% taking us back to the level reported in March.
The overall market growth from September of 8.4%.
Looking at September performance by distribution channel, sales through directly authorised brokers increased by 8%, while appointed representative brokers rose by 8.8%.
Regional area performance was mixed again. The North West and London stormed ahead by (12.7%) and (11.7%) respectively, bouncing back from the sluggish growth reported in both areas last month. The Home Counties (9.7%), South West (8.7%) and the Midlands (8.7%) followed with growth above the UK rate. Northern Ireland (0.7%) and Scotland (1.9% trailed the pack with lower growth which reflects the staggered summer holiday cycles. North East (5%) and the Yorkshire (6%) also trailed the UK average, echoing a distinct variance in North/South growth this month.
The optimism reported by the sales teams during September has indeed been realised. BTL growth is very welcome, especially for the new entrants to the market in the last year or so. Although we still have a way to go to get back to the monthly levels of business reported throughout most of 2015.
Residential sales again showed healthy growth and hopefully similar growth during October will get us back to the record post-2008 levels seen in June of this year.
September has been a fantastic month and significantly in that it has come on the back of the surprise growth reported in August. Let hope hat the last quarter of the year builds a head of steam that finishes 2016 with a flourish.
In this exciting market, keep your finger on the market pulse.