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Monthly UK Housing Market Report

Housebuyers and first time buyer sales buck seasonal trends in busy December

  • Number of prospective buyers registered per branch last month was the highest in 13 years for the month of December
  • Record December sales to first time buyers (FTBs) since 2001
  • Number of houses available to buy increased marginally
  • Despite heightened interest from potential buyers, the number of sales agreed dropped by a quarter from November

Demand for properties

  • Last month, the number of house hunters rose to the highest level seen since 2003 for the month of December [see figure 1]
  • The average number of prospective buyers registered per branch last month was 386, a 12 per cent rise from November when estate agents registered 344 on average.

Dec-16

386

Dec-15

374

Dec-14

360

Dec-13

334

Dec-12

282

Dec-11

294

Dec-10

227

Dec-09

251

Dec-08

200

Dec-07

248

Dec-06

351

Dec-05

302

Dec-04

360

Dec-03

451

 

Figure 1: Demand for properties in December since 2003

 

Sales to FTBs

  • In December, a third (32 per cent) of sales were made to FTBs – the highest number for the month of December since 2001 when it was also 32 per cent [see figure 2]
  • This is also a ten per cent increase from November when 29 per cent of sales were made to the group.

Dec-01

32%

Dec-02

17%

Dec-03

16%

Dec -04

16%

Dec-05

7%

Dec-06

10%

Dec-07

13%

Dec-08

11%

Dec-09

19%

Dec-10

25%

Dec-11

21%

Dec-12

21%

Dec-13

26%

Dec-14

26%

Dec-15

24%

Dec-16

32%

 

Figure 2: Sales made to FTBs in December since 2001

Supply of properties and sales agreed

  • The number of properties available to buy on estate agents’ books in December was 41– this is a marginal increase from November when there were 39
  • Despite an increase in supply and demand, the number of sales agreed dropped by a quarter (25 per cent) last month from eight in November to six in December.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director, National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) comments on the findings: “In November we saw a seasonal slowdown; typically it’s uncommon for people to buy and move close to Christmas. Yet, our December findings have completely bucked this seasonal trend. With demand at an all-time December high and sales to FTBs at their highest on record, 2016 closed on a positive note following several months of uncertainty. However, despite an encouraging December, there remains a clear shortage of homes. We await the government’s housing white paper to see how it intends to tackle this and hope the market continues to improve for both buyers and sellers.”

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View our historic reports

Our archive of reports date back until November 2012. If you would like to take a at our older reports to see how the market has changed over the years please select which year you would like to view.