An agent has reported major drops in both new listings and buyer interest.
Haart says that last year, there was a 16.8% fall in new properties for sale, measured between December 2016 and December 2017.
New buyer registrations dwindled by 7.4%, with the number of landlords registering to buy down by 26.3%. Viewings were also down, by 8.9% over the 12-month period.
However, the number of properties that were sold, measured at exchange of contract, was up by 4.6% over the last year – with more sales by landlords. The number of buy-to-let sales was up by 5.6% across England and Wales, and up by 27.6% in London.
The data is based on activity over haart’s network of 100-plus offices.
The number of tenants entering the market also dropped, down 16.1% annually, while the number of properties to rent was also down 0.4%, haart said.
Paul Smith, chief executive of haart, said: “In December the market began to pick up and we have started to see transactions rise towards levels last seen in the months before the Stamp Duty surcharge change and the vote to leave the EU. However there remains a severe lack of homes on the market.
“The new homes market is expected to have its best year since 2007. In the past, new-build homes were a luxury, but given our shortage of stock are increasingly the new normal. The newly introduced Stamp Duty cut and the Help to Buy scheme have made it easier for first-time buyers to buy new-build, if they can afford a deposit.
“This could be the year of the first-time buyer if the Stamp Duty cut bears fruit.
“However, for those in the middle of the ladder, second steppers and downsizers are still lacking the motivation to move. The Government must do more to help them, and Stamp Duty for these groups remains a big disincentive holding the market back.”
* Separately, research from Emoov claims transactions in 2017 were down 21% over the year. The agent claims that according to its own analysis of Land Registry figures, there were just 784,570 transactions in England and Wales between January and the end of December 2017.
This compares with 996,332 sales during 2016, Emoov said.
EYE is seeking clarification of its numbers as we are only aware of data up to the end of November and figures would suggest 956,860 sales until then.
We have been unable to access residential sales data for December 2017, but if Emoov figures are correct, this suggests a big drop in transactions.