Housing market ‘dynamic’ despite cost of living pressure: Propertymark

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The housing market has remained ‘vibrant’ over the past two months, with 78% of estate agents saying most sales in May were completed at or above the original price despite the rising cost of living, according to Propertymark .

There were nine sales agreed on average per member branch in May – the same number as in April, says the estate agent’s body, which has 18,000 members who run 12,000 offices across the country.

This figure is in line with the pre-pandemic average of May 9, based on figures dating from 2010 to 2019.

The body’s May survey adds that the average number of potential new buyers signing up at each member branch remained high at 90.

He says: ‘Despite recent whispers of an impending downturn in the housing market, the figures reported by our agents for May appear to show that the buoyant market is continuing.’

However, earlier this week inflation edged up to 9.1% in the 12 months to May as prices continued to rise at their fastest pace in 40 years, driven by food and energy costs, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In addition, Britain’s economy contracted 0.3% in April after shrinking 0.1% in March, the ONS said last week. Many economists predict that the UK economy will slip into recession within the next 12 months.

But Propertymark’s May survey says: “With such high demand, we can expect sales to be higher. But the lack of supply appears to be keeping the total sales figure in check.

The average number of properties for sale per member branch in May was 22, matching the average for the previous three months, according to the report. He adds that these figures remain low compared to the pre-pandemic average of May 50, still based on figures dating from 2010 to 2019.

He adds that average exchange times remain long, with 67% of agents saying the average time from accepting an offer to exchanging contracts in May was 13 weeks or more. This compares to an average of 52% in 2019.

Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson said: “Despite a continued rise in the cost of living, interest rate hikes and a fall in the average UK house price of just under £300,000, agents continue to report a strong and stable market.

“Due to further potential interest rate increases in the future, buyers are buying properties quickly and taking advantage of current mortgage rates. We expect these pressures to begin to slow the housing market, but there are no signs of that happening anytime soon.

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