A survey of the housing market in 2017 from the National Association of Estate Agents suggests much of the busiest activity was in the first quarter of the year - and business didn’t really improve much from that time onwards.
The association says demand spiked in January and February at 425 house-buyers registered per branch; throughout the rest of 2017 demand was higher than in 2016, however, with an average of 380 prospective buyers registered per branch, compared to 365 on average over the course of last year.
The supply of housing also peaked in February with 44 properties available to buy per branch. Year on year, supply has not shifted, averaging at 39 properties available per branch in 2016 and 2017.
February and June saw the highest number of sales agreed, with an average of 11 per branch. In 2016, the number of sales agreed peaked in March, with 10 per branch.
On average, the number of sales agreed was up in 2017 – with an average of nine per branch every month, compared to eight in 2016
The proportion of total sales made to first-time buyers on average over the year hit the lowest seen since 2013 at 25 per cent.
In 2017, properties were sold for less than asking price on average 77 per cent of the time – only four per cent were sold for more than the original asking price.
“Looking to next year it will be interesting to see what impact the stamp duty change had on the market, and if it really does help FTBs get on the ladder” says Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark.
“We still only have a limited supply of housing available and policymakers need to think about how to help others in the chain, such as second steppers and those that would downsize in order to free up more larger homes suitable for families.”