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Demand for homes at three-year low - and that's before Brexit...

Uncertainty - even that which existed before the EU referendum just a week ago today - means demand for property has now fallen to its lowest level for three years according to the National Association of Estate Agents. 

Estate agents recorded an average of 304 house hunters registered per member branch in May, as uncertainty in the lead up to the referendum stalled buyers.  

This was down six per cent from April, and the lowest recorded since November 2013 when 292 buyers were registered per branch. Compared to May 2015 when 383 house hunters were recorded – demand has decreased by 21 per cent year on year. 

In line with falling demand, last month the supply of houses available to buyers increased marginally from 35 properties available to buy per branch in April, to 37 in May. 

The number of sales agreed in May decreased to an average of eight per branch, a drop from nine in April falling to the same level seen during the seasonal slowdown in January.

One bright light was that May saw sales to first time buyers increase marginally: some 27 per cent of the total sales completed last month were to FTBs, an increase of one percentage point from April.

“As a result of the vote for a Brexit, we expect international investors to look a lot harder at the UK as a potential market to buy in and this will have a knock on effect on the house building sector, as investments may be delayed or put off completely” says Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director.

“Although in the short term we believe that house prices will remain stable, we cannot be certain about the next quarter as political uncertainty and market unrest could affect the housing market.

“The supply of available housing is still extremely low compared to this time last year, which is particularly worrying. A Brexit could impact the skills required to drive property developments in the UK. This means that in the longer term, something will need to give which regrettably could mean a surge in house prices or buyers struggling to find a suitable property in order to move or get that first foot on the ladder” he adds.

Meanwhile Haart estate agency says the number of registered buyers pulling out of transactions over last weekend - shortly after the Brexit result - was 11 per cent higher than on the comparable weekend of 2015. 

However, it says the number of new applicants registering between Friday and Monday was the same level seen over the same days in 2015.

  • Terence Dicks

    I suppose the new MD has to make his presence felt, and I am sure had the Haart staff reassured their clients they would not have had 11% more fallen sales than last year.


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