Challenging start to 2022 predicted as listings slow

Conveyancers may face a challenging start to 2022 as the number of properties coming to market has dropped below pre-pandemic figures, down by an average of 9% compared to July, August and September 2019.

The analysis has come from data spanning property listings, sold subject to contract, legal conveyancing and completions in the latest edition of Landmark Information Group’s quarterly Property Trends Report.

Last quarter, new property listings were down every month when compared to the same period in 2019: -6% in July, -13% in August and -8% in September, even though demand has remained steady.

The current stability in the market, fuelled by record low interest rates and high demand, has seen property search order-volume data present more stable results, with figures that are closely aligned to statistics reported in 2019. Volumes are marginally higher than 2019 figures; 3% up in July, 4% up in August and 2% in September. While it is most likely that a large proportion of searches were ordered in the previous quarter in preparation for the SDLT holiday deadline, the continued stability bodes well in the short term.

However, while demand continued to outpace supply there is the potential to see stock levels continue to decrease as we head towards the end of the year, which could continue to affect house prices and volumes in the first part of 2022.

The report also looks at Sold Subject to Contract and completions data, with findings showing SSTC was relatively stable compared to previous quarters with a gradual trend that moved closer to the SSTC data from 2019 from month to month: July reported a 9% decrease, August 7% down and September a 1% difference from the pre-pandemic stats.

Meanwhile completions July and August were down when compared to 2019, -35% and -19% respectively as conveyancers took some well-earned time off before a 44% spike above 2019 figures as the SDLT holiday ended in September.

Simon Brown, CEO of Landmark Information Group said,

“The property industry has shown great resilience over the last 18-months as it has had to traverse so many challenges – from the market closure amid the height of the Covid lockdowns, to surges in market activity driven by the Government’s stimulus activities, all the while managing home-working, furlough and unpredictable market conditions.”

“As much of the property industry breathes a sigh of relief following the various surges in market activity ahead of the Stamp Duty deadlines, many aspects of the market are starting to present more stable figures, including SSTC, legal search order-volumes and mortgage valuations. We are however seeing the demand for properties continuing to exceed supply. This market imbalance has the potential to lead to depressed sales, placing increasing pressure on property prices, as sellers are able to command higher asking prices. We look to see if this adjusts as we head towards the pre-Christmas sales period.”

The Property Trends Report provides cross-market trend analysis for the residential property market pipeline in England and Wales and assesses transaction movements across the estate agency and conveyancing sectors.

To view the report visit: https://www.landmark.co.uk/news-insights/industry-reports/landmark-property-trends-report-october-2021/

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