Number Of Homebuyers Registering At Estate Agents Soars

Nathan Emerson

The average number of new homebuyers registered at estate agency branches increased by 34% to 94 in February compared with a month earlier, and up 141% since December, according to Propertymark.

The continued rise in demand since December is a regular seasonal trend and suggests buyers have not been deterred from looking for a new home by the recent hike in interest rates.

The supply of new homes has also increased, returning to the steady state of 10 per branch in February.

The average number of sales agreed per member branch rose to eight in February, which is the same level as the corresponding month last year. Total stock of properties available per member branch continued to inch up in February and now stands at 32 on average per member branch.

Some 75% of responding agents reported that most sales were agreed below the asking price. This is a 55% increase since February last year.

Meanwhile, in the letting market, there has been no clear change in supply and demand levels.

The number of new prospective tenants registering per member branch held at 91 in February. This figure is very close to last spring’s average of 94.

The number of properties available to rent per member branch remained steady at 9 in February.

This translated into an average of 10 prospective tenants registering per available property.

Some 50% of responding agents reported rents increasing month-on-month on average at their branch in February, while 47% reported rising rents.

Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson said: “There has been a lot of doomy whispers about the housing market since last autumn, but the activity being seen by Propertymark agents paints a robust picture.

“Transaction levels year on year have been stable and listings of new properties coming to the market have also been steady.

“Any indicators of something negative on the horizon would see these figures dropping below previous years.

Emerson added: “Prices have been affected by rising interest rates, but sellers are still keen to keep moving, and whilst interest rates are expected to rise again, they are not expected to climb excessively higher before reaching a level footing.

“The lettings market remains very much out of balance, however, with an average of ten registered applicants per property.

“As demand continues to outweigh supply, pressure on rents has eased slightly since the peaks of last summer but it has by no means gone away.”

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