The National Association of Estate Agents says the General Election led to a drop in the number of registered house hunters per branch by eight per cent in May - and it also reports a sharp fall in the number of homes selling above asking price.
The NAEA says the number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch fell from an average of 381 in April to 350 in May - “unsurprising as political uncertainty ahead of the election stalled buyers” says the association.
Only three per cent of properties sold for more than asking price in May, down four per cent from April and the lowest level since October; meanwhile the number of homes which sold for less than asking price rose to 77 per cent last month – up five percentage points from April.
The number of properties available to buy rose by 11 per cent last month to 40 per branch; this is slightly higher than May 2016 when 37 properties were available to buy per branch.
However, the number of sales agreed per branch rose from eight in April to 10 in May – the same level seen in March.
“Periods of political uncertainty impact the way buyers and sellers interact with the housing market. Following the result of the general election, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts over the coming months as summer is peak house-moving season” says Mark Hayward, the association’s managing director.
Meanwhile high-end agency Jackson-Stops & Staff has given a noticeably more upbeat market assessment.
It claims that amongst its 44 branch network the shock result of the election has failed to deter buyers and sellers from entering the market.
“A solid 55 per cent of branches reported absolutely no change in the level of sales instructions in the two weeks after the result compared to two weeks prior. Overall, sellers remain undeterred” says a statement from the agency.
The agency’s London Residential Development team says that the hung parliament could be more likely to mean a softer Brexit “which is considered by many as better for business than a harder Brexit.”
It says under 30 per cent of branches say some sellers have held off marketing their property as a result.