Buyer demand falls to lowest in six years while sales also slide, say agents

In a flurry of market news, the NAEA said that buyer demand and sales both dropped by 13% last month as uncertainty holds back the market.

The number of applicants registered per branch was 294, down from 338 in September – the lowest number for an October since 2012.

Housing supply decreased from 46 per branch in September to 40, and the average number of sales agreed per branch fell from nine in September to eight last month.

Meanwhile, Hometrack claimed that despite Brexit dominating the news, its impact on the UK housing market has been limited.

Reporting for October, Hometrack said six cities posted year on year price growth of over 6% with Leicester (7.7%), Edinburgh (7.4%), Manchester (6.3%), Birmingham (6.2%), Nottingham (6.1%) and Liverpool (6.0%) all performing strongly.

However, there were drops in London (-0.4%), Cambridge (-1.1%) and Aberdeen (-2.8%). Hometrack, as is usual, reported no actual prices.

Separately, mortgage brokers reported a slump in their business, citing Brexit as a possible cause.

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association said that the average number of mortgage cases was down 10% in the third quarter of this year – the largest fall in business volumes since the same quarter in 2016.

Annually, the average number of cases per broker dropped from 90 to 81 cases in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, reporting on the letting market in England and Wales this morning, Your Move said that the average rent in October was up, at £934.

Rents in London ticked down on an annual basis by almost 1%, but the capital is still easily the most expensive place to rent at an average £1,271 per month, compared with the north-east, the cheapest region, with an average rent of £535.


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  1. nextchapter

    Listen. There is no good market or bad market.  Just get on with it. There’s always a bunch of people that NEED to sell and a bunch of people that NEED to buy. You’ve just got to work your backsides off to put those 2 people together.  Plus pricing is all relative. Stop moaning.

    1. AgencyInsider

      Every full service agent should print off that comment nextchapter and staple it to the forehead of every manager, neg, and valuer in their business. SO true.

    2. Essjaydee51

      Well I’ve been in estate agency for 34 years and until now never realised that if buyers disappeared then sales would slide too!

      What a story!!

  2. Bless You

    294 applicants? Average???

    More like 29.4 isn’t it.

  3. James Wilson

    It isn’t “uncertainty” holding back the market.  Not in my patch in South West London.   What is “hold back” buyers is that those with half a brain cell or more can see that the market is over-valued and is heading down.   They are “uncertain” about what the correct discount is, is it 10% or 15%, or even more.   If agents could get their vendors to price realistically confidence would come back to the market.

    1. Claygateagent

      Well said James.  Brexit, despite being ‘the big thing’ and likely a defining thing for the next few years is actually a sideshow to the UK property market.  The issue is much simpler than that and just an matter of confidence and general affordability.  The gap between sellers and buyers has opened up to an unsustainable degree.  It’s been that way in London and much of the South East particularly for some time now and the market has been grudgingly readjusting for a year or more.  The market is there though and if you’re not one of the very many weak agents who are still telling sellers their property will sell in a week and for much more than your peers have suggested and btw, we’ll charge you next to nothing for doing it (and breathe….) then good traditional agents will still put the right clients together and ride this out.  We must, repeat must, continue to deliver class-leading levels of service and perpetually innovate and educate clients as to ‘market reality’.


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