Housing Report - January 2019

BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR HOUSE SELLERS WHILE BUYERS PUT PLANS ON HOLD

Key Findings

  • Demand for housing fell, while the supply of properties available to buy remained the same year-on-year
  • Sales to first-time buyers (FTBs) increased

Demand for housing

  • In January, the number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch fell from 304 in December, to 297
  • Year-on-year, demand has fallen by a fifth (19 per cent), from 367 in January 2018, as buyers hold off on making any decisions, in light of the current political climate.

Sales agreed

Figure 1: Number of house hunters registered per branch

Supply of available properties

  • Supply of housing fell by 14 per cent in January, from 42 in December to 36 per member branch
  • This is the same figure as January 2018.

Sales to FTBs

  • FTBs took advantage of weakened demand, as the number of sales made to the group increased for the second month running, from 24 per cent in December, to 26 per cent in January
  • This is the highest recorded since July 2018, when 30 per cent of sales were made to the group.

Sales agreed

  • 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.

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward

Chief Executive

“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 FTBs 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.”