It has been another interesting month in the housing market with the latest 2021 RICS UK Residential Survey results reporting a continued softening in market activity last month, although members responding to the survey are apparently reporting they do expect activity to stabilise and take a modestly positive trend looking ahead over the next twelve months. Some of the reports key findings are:
- New buyer enquiries fell for a second month in succession across the UK.
- Agreed sales also declined for a second month in succession across the UK.
- Looking ahead, survey participants still foresee a generally steady sales picture emerging over the near term.
- Expectations for the year ahead are most positive across London, Northern Ireland and the South East of England.
- The flow of fresh listings coming onto the sales market continues to deteriorate.
- The pace of growth of house price growth now appears to be easing.
- Stock levels on estate agents books have dropped from an average of 42 homes per branch at the start of the year, to 38 in August.
- Feedback points to market appraisals currently running at a slightly slower pace than the comparable period last year.
- The lack of available stock on the sales market is frequently mentioned by respondents to be a key factor sustaining strong rates of house price inflation.
- 73% of contributors saw prices increase over the latest survey period. While this has moderated from a recent high of 81% seen back in May/June.
- 23% of respondents anticipate prices will continue to climb over the near term.
The RICS report findings are broadly reflective of what we are all seeing in the Lincolnshire housing market. The shortage of new property listings coming to the market is likely to continue to support house prices over the remainder of this year and in certain market Geographic’s, such as in prestigious uphill Lincoln and in Woodhall Spa, we expect buyers will have to continue to be prepared to pay top premium prices for key homes, as well as react quickly to secure them when they come to the market.
The Halifax Bank reported that UK house prices increased by 0.7% in August, so bringing annual house price growth up to 7.1%. However, with a continuing decline in buyer activity, the supply of new listings coming into the market, buyer activity and price growth, in general, moderating further, we could well see over the next few months some rather volatile market activity figures being reported.
Whilst the governments housing market intervention with Stamp Duty concessions has been seen by many as having been ‘the’ driver of this latest house price boom, more market commentators are now starting to appreciate and report that such strong price growth, has been more a reflection of the strong rebound in the UK’s Covid economy over the last fifteen months and most vitally, the low cost of debt.