Green shoots? New instructions up and prices remain stable as increasing numbers of home owners enter the market

TwentyCi releases its Property & Homemover Report for Q2 2018 – the most comprehensive real time review of the UK housing market

• New instructions up nearly 7% year on year, easing supply issues while average prices remain stable at just under £300k year on year • 29% more households now at ‘Move Maker’ and 26% at ‘Move Planner’ stages • Fewer under 45s are exchanging on properties – Down -14% (aged 18-35), -8% (35-45), while baby boomer exchanges are up 10% compared to Q2 2017 – showing a divided market • Properties priced at £300-£400k and £400-£500k saw the largest increase in exchanges in 2017 at 22% and 23% respectively, while properties £5m and above saw the biggest drop of -35% • London bucks trends with average prices up 3.1% in Q2 2018 as new instructions remain subdued – but time to sell averages five months, one month longer than other UK cities • Online agents are on the rise and seizing market share – exchanges up 13% in last quarter and achieving a rocketing 30% growth in properties below £1m

New instructions are up almost 7% year on year and 12% compared to Q1, while house prices remain stable at just under £300k year on year with no significant discounting reveals the latest TwentyCi National Property & Homemover Report for Q2 2018 – the most comprehensive real time review of the UK housing market. With further stability persisting in Q2 of 2018, 29% more households at the ‘Move Maker’ stage of the homemoving journey and 26% at the ‘Move Planner’ stage year on year. These combined factors could be the green shoots of a recovery in confidence from both buyers and sellers in the sub £1m market as interest rates remain on hold, a strong labour market and wage growth finally picking up are all contributing to an increasing number of home owners entering the market. Properties priced at £300-400k and £400-£500k saw the biggest increases in property exchanges at 22% and 23% respectively, while top of the market £5m and above properties saw a huge -35% drop in exchanges – the largest by far. Younger families, younger buyers and lower incomes are seeing a drop in exchanges – with households with children showing an 8% decrease, households earning £30-£39,999 and £40-£49,000 an 8% drop and young buyers 18-35 years 14% and 35-45 years an 8% drop. On the other hand, baby boomer exchanges are up 10% compared to Q2 2017 – signifying a divided market: The under 65s and over 66s+ baby boomers, fuelled by a combination of final salary pension schemes, pension drawdown and equity retrieval and wealth accumulated in property, while the under 35s are seeing a lifestyle and a financial shift in tenure from buyers to rentees.

Realised prices vary value by value Overall, realised prices show an average discount of up to 4% for properties sold for less than £1m suggesting no significant property devaluation occurring, however realised values over £1m show an average of 8% discount. While outside of Scotland, Bristol, Cambridge and Manchester were the cities that had properties spending the least time on market this quarter at 103, 108 and 117 days respectively.

Online agents are on the rise Online estate agents are seizing market share with residential exchanges up by 13% in the last quarter, representing 8% of all exchanges and achieving a rocketing 30% growth in properties below £1m.

Colin Bradshaw, Chief Customer Officer at customer insights company, TwentyCi says: “The growth in market share for online agents continues unabated, with online agents now representing nearly 8% of all exchanges. It has been interesting to note that almost all of this growth has been properties below £1m. Logic might dictate that a fixed-price service might be more attractive to sellers of higher-priced properties, but perhaps this group of vendors is motivated by factors other than just price.”

London remains an enigma London is continuing to buck national property trends with the average asking price up 3.1% in Q2 as a lack of available properties appears to be generating an uplift in asking prices with North West London a particular hotspot with an average 12% increase in asking prices – but time to sell averages over five months, taking one month longer to sell on average than other UK cities - although a lack of noticeable discounting suggests sellers are patient. Here, nearly two thirds of properties available in Q2 were rentals underlining the dominant tenure in the capital.

Smaller homes are the biggest sellers Terraced and semi-detached houses continue to make up the largest proportion of property sales, accounting for over 55% of all exchanges in Q2. Both housing types have grown in the last year seeing a 8% and 6% increase in the levels of exchanges years on year and driving growth overall, while detached homes continue to see the greatest levels of decline, down 12% as more owners in these homes are choosing a ‘stay and improve’ approach in the current market and flats show a significant decline in sales volume – with flats seemingly now dominating the rental rather than sales market in major towns and cities.

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