Our monthly update on the UK housing market – covering sold and asking prices, current market sentiment as well as the property outlook for the months ahead.
As of July 2021, the annual price change for a UK property was 8%.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, this reflects a monthly decrease of-3.7% between June and July (compared with a small increase of 0.8% for the same period a year earlier).
Despite this slight decrease, the Bank of England reported ongoing strong demand for housing across the UK – driven by the extreme shortage of properties on the market. This has underpinned overall price growth with mortgage approvals reassuringly high at 75,200 for the month of July.
Price growth was strongest in the North East (reflecting continuing strong performance across the North of England!) where sold prices increased by 10.8%. Conversely, the London market remained sluggish with growth of just 2.2%.
Average asking prices rose by 0.3% (that’s +£1,091) during August, to hit a new all-time high of £338,462.
This new record beats the July peak by £15 – but this relatively small increase does show the market is starting to slowly stabilise.
Despite the usual summer holiday lull, fierce competition has continued amongst buyers, driven by the record low number of properties for sale. This has put buyer demand per property more than double that of pre-pandemic levels.
Demand has been counterbalanced by increasingly stretched buyer affordability however, as well as disappearing stamp duty incentives and sluggish price growth in London.
In good news for the market as a whole, more properties are starting to come up for sale. In the first two weeks of September, the number of new listings was up by 14% compared to the last two weeks of August. A greater choice of properties should encourage more owners looking for an onward purchase to come to market – with greater liquidity easing strong upwards price pressures.
As will come as no surprise, the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey reported a continued deterioration of the number of listings coming onto the market during August 2021. This meant new buyer enquiries and agreed sales slipped for a second month in a row (with the net balance from respondents down -14% and -18% respectively).
These key indicators are expected to stabilise during the autumn months, with respondents expecting a more steady sales picture over the next year. Of those surveyed, the outlook is most positive across London, Northern Ireland and the South East.
With the continued decline in new listings (-37% this month), price growth is set to be sustained. Indeed, +73% of contributors saw prices increase over the last survey period. While this is slightly less than the high of over 80% seen in May and June – growth remains significantly above usual levels.
The ending of the “tapered” stamp duty holiday has had less impact on buyer demand than previously expected – which remains higher than usual for this time of the year. The pressure for space (both in terms of interiors and gardens) as well as post-lockdown lifestyle changes continues to drive moves.
The ending of furlough schemes and more challenging economic conditions will certainly impact buyer demand in the coming months, with growth predicted to slow into the final quarter of the year. Despite this slightly slower pace, market activity is expected to remain busier than normal levels, with price growth continuing (albeit more gently) to the end of the year and beyond.
In good news for buyers, stock levels should start to rebuild in early 2022 as normal market activity resumes.
For a full, comprehensive breakdown of current property market activity. Visit our Express Index here
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