In the market to buy? With the number of homes for sale at the lowest level for March since records began, you could find you have some serious bargaining power.
Estate agents had an average of just 37 properties on their books during March – the lowest level recorded for the month since records began in 2001, according to NAEA Propertymark.
However, activity in the market increased slightly with an average of 44 more buyers and three more sellers registering with estate agents, compared to February.
The number of sales agreed remained flat at seven per branch.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “Despite the fact that activity in the housing market increased in March, the levels of supply and demand recorded aren’t where we would expect them to be at this time of year.
“It’s clear buyers and sellers are still feeling cautious and holding off on making any decisions in light of the current political climate and economic uncertainty.”
Why is this happening?
The property market traditionally enjoys a spring bounce as both buyers and sellers return to the market following a lull over the winter months.
But activity levels have been dampened this year due to the uncertainty surrounding when and how the UK will leave the EU and the impact this could have on the economy.
Even without Brexit, increasingly stretched affordability following several years of strong house price growth is impacting transaction levels
Who does it affect?
The ‘wait and see’ approach being adopted among many buyers is putting homeowners off listing their property for sale which, in turn, is leading to a lack of choice.
However, buyers who have seen a property they like for sale could find they are in a strong position to negotiate.
What’s the background?
While the housing market has been putting in a lacklustre performance for several months at a headline level, there continues to be considerable regional variation.
House prices across London and southern regions are either falling or remaining broadly flat as a result of stretched affordability.
By contrast in northern regions, where growth in property values has been less strong, prices are still rising.
Going forward, activity in the property market is not expected to bounce back until there is more certainty over Brexit.
Top three takeaways
- Estate agents had an average of just 37 properties on their books in March, the lowest level recorded for the month since records began in September 2001
- Demand from potential buyers also fell to a six-year low for the month, with only 296 house hunters registered per branch
- There was a slight increase in both buyers and sellers during March compared with February