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Just eight sales agreed per branch last month as election hits the market

The number of house hunters registered per estate agency branch fell last month to 381 - well down on its figure of 425 at the start of the year.

The National Association of Estate Agents, which compiled the figures, suggests this is down to the General Election.

Supply also fell in April; in March there were 39 properties available to buy per branch but in April this figure dropped by eight per cent to just 36 per branch. This is the lowest level seen since April last year when agents typically had just 35 properties to market, as sellers held off until after the EU referendum.

The number of sales agreed per branch fell from 10 in March to eight in April this year, while the proportion of sales made to first time buyers stayed the same at 25 per cent.

The rate of sales agreed above asking price rose to seven per cent in April, from five per cent in March. In line with this, the number of properties which were sold for less than the asking price dropped three percentage points from 75 per cent in March to 72 per cent in April.

“Periods of political uncertainty tend to halt activity in the housing market, and this is exactly what we’re seeing this month. Buyers and sellers alike are recognising this and adopting a ‘wait and see’ strategy to decipher how or if the value of their existing or future homes will be affected” says Mark Hayward, NAEA Propertymark’s chief executive.

“It’s important that the market doesn’t totally stall as this could trigger an unintended domino effect, which we could still feel the effect of years later before supply increases. A business as usual approach will ensure house-hunters are met with a healthy supply of properties to view, and sellers get a fair price and a good buyer.”

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