Property Market Slowing Despite Slight Transaction Increase

Despite a slight increase in the number of properties registered with HM Land Registry in January, there is a clear indication that the property market is slowing down.

There were 99,372 sales received for registration in January compared with the 88,785 registrations made in December 2018.

Whilst an increase of 10,000 property sales is certainly welcome, the upturn is not uncommon for the time of year. January’s figures are also over 3,000 sales short of the 102,703 sales received for registration in November.

Similarly, recent findings from Rightmove have indicated that estate agents are taking longer to ensure a house is sold or under offer. From placing a property on the market to marking it as under offer is now taking 77 days; this is an increase of 5 days when compared with the 72 days a year ago.

Whilst Zoopla claim that property prices have increased by 2.9% from January 2018, there has been a considerable slowdown in many major UK towns and cities.

Nottingham are enjoying the swiftest sales times with the average sale being completed within eight weeks and sellers only having to sacrifice a mere 2.2% (£3,340) of the property value to achieve the sale.

The average property seller in London is being forced to accept 5.1% less than the asking price and being having to wait over sixteen weeks or double the time a Nottingham seller takes to complete the sale.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s property expert, said: “More northerly regions are faring better in terms of pricing power and willingness to move than those farther south. Agents report that properties in the North West are seeing positive market conditions with strong demand from buyers. Once again improvements in local-level infrastructure is a key factor, with the top areas benefiting from better transport links to bigger city centre employment hubs.”

Richard Donnell, Zoopla’s Research and Insight Director, said: “The speed of price growth has moderated on affordability pressures and increased uncertainty. Thirteen cities are recording weaker annual house price growth than at the same time a year ago. Some of the sharpest slowdowns in annual house price growth over the last year have been registered in Edinburgh, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Bristol.

“The current housing cycle started almost a decade ago and is unfolding at different speeds across each city driven by local factors, primarily growth in incomes and employment and overall levels of housing affordability.

“Three years ago London house prices were rising in double digits and the discount to asking price was just 1.0 per cent. Affordability pressures and tax changes have impacted demand for housing and the result has been a widening in discounts from asking prices as a result of price sensitive buyers and sellers reluctant to provide significant discounts.”

Do you envision that this slowdown will continue? Is the plight of the London market set to improve? What will this mean for the conveyancing sector?

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