Property Sales And Mortgage Approvals Rise Whilst Housing Stock Falls

The property market’s resilience has become clear as housing sales agreed per estate agency branch have increased to the highest level since October 2018.

April’s NAEA Propertymark Housing Report has found an average 8 property sales agreed per branch compared to 7 in March; this figure marked the first increase in agreed sales in 2019. It is also the largest figure since October last year, when sales started to slow.

Similarly, UK Finance have found that mortgages approved hit 44,000 in April, a 5.4% increase on the approvals in March. The mortgage approvals for April 2019 were also 8.6% higher than the same month a year earlier.

Remortgage approvals also increased by 2.2% when compared with the figures from a year ago.

Whilst potential sales and those approved for mortgages could suggest the property market is holding its own despite difficult political conditions, these figures contrast considerably with the reducing housing stock and numbers of people looking to buy property.

The supply of properties entering the market shrank again in April according to the NAEA Propertymark report. March saw the average number of properties per branch entering the market rise from 34 to 37. Last month, this figure had reduced to 35 properties per branch.

Given the poor availability of housing stock in the current market, it is unsurprising that buyers are deterred from formally declaring their interest in purchasing property.

The number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch fell by 10% in April to 296 house hunters per branch to 265.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive of NAEA Propertymark, commented:

“Despite a fall in housing supply and demand, it’s encouraging to see an increase, for the first time this year, in the number of sales going through.

“This means that even though buyers and sellers remain uncertain given the current climate, many are continuing to move forward with their transactions and sales are still happening at the rate we would expect to see at this time of year. More than four in five properties are selling for less than the original asking price, so there’s an opportunity for house buyers and sellers to negotiate an offer to get a sale moving.”

Jeremy Leaf, former RICS Residential Chairman, said:

“It is a positive and once again demand proves to be more resilient, which it should be at this time of year. These figures are a little bit historic so looking forward, the political uncertainty is likely to weigh more heavily on results in the coming months so let’s enjoy it while we can.”

Have conveyancers noticed an upturn in property transactions in April? Will the reducing housing stock continue to stifle growth in the property market?

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