A very interesting piece by the Guardians business reporter
The UK housing market is shrugging off concerns in the wider
economy following the Brexit vote, compounding problems for many first-time
buyers still wrestling with the strongest year-on-year price rises in the
There are more buyers and sellers in the wider market
compared with the period around the referendum a year ago, with the number of
sales agreed up by 4.6% in June 2017 compared with June 2016, the latest survey
by property website Rightmove found.
The company added that prospective buyers are “seeing a lot
of sold boards on properties they would like to buy themselves” – with over 45%
of estate agents’ property stock now being sold subject to contract.
Meanwhile, cumulative sales agreed during 2017 are almost on
a par with the same period in 2016, down by 0.4%, even though the first six
months of last year was boosted by the rush to beat the April 2016 stamp duty
deadline, the survey added.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market
analyst, said: “A year on from the shock referendum result and subsequent dent
in activity levels, the fundamentals remain strong.
“Low unemployment, low interest rates, strong demand and
historic undersupply of homes are mitigating any wobbles in confidence and as a
result nearly half the properties on the market, over 45%, have sold signs
slapped across them.”
The monthly survey, which is calculated on asking prices
rather than completed transactions, comes at a time of year when the property
market is typically quiet, as buyers and sellers take a break from the spring
selling season and households concentrate more on holidays than house buying.
According to Rightmove, the seasonal slowdown in activity
has caused the overall market to rise by just 0.1% last month, but while that
includes a drop in prices for first-time buyers outside of London since June,
the traditional blip in the market at this time of year has provided little solace
for embattled buyers trying to get on the property ladder.
The data shows that the national average asking price for
people buying their first home has dropped by 1.7% since last month to
£196,450, but that figure is still 3.8% higher than a year ago, while the
first-time buyer sector is the highest riser in the market during 2017.
Still, Rightmove cautioned that in spite of high demand and
lack of suitable supply, stretched buyer affordability continues to act as a
price brake. While all regions have seen year-on-year price rises, the national
average stands at a “relatively subdued” increase of 2.8% to £316,421, the
The warnings about supply also dovetail with a survey from
the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) published last week, which
showed that the average number of properties available per agency branch had
fallen to an all-time low in June, at just over 42.
Brian Murphy, head of lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau,
added: “The average time to sell, standing at 60 days in this month’s
Rightmove report, has remained broadly unchanged now for the last quarter,
and also points to market consistency in most areas that again flies in the
face of some who might suggest that the market is in negative territory.
“Quite to the contrary, all of these indicators would point
to a calm, steady and functioning UK market, with perhaps those consumers who
did decide to ‘wait and see’ in the lead up the election now deciding to simply
get on with their move, adding yet more motivated movers into the mix in most
parts of the UK.”
Overall, the West Midlands has experienced the greatest
price rises in England and Wales during 2017, according to the Rightmove
survey, with prices 6.1% higher than last year.
The East Midlands has been the next best performer with
price growth of 4.9% followed by Yorkshire and Humber at 4.1%. Greater London
has had the weakest growth of the regions outside central London over the past
12 months with 0.9%, followed by the north-east with 1.6%.
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