Housing market maintains momentum amid election and interest rate uncertainty: Rightmove

Buyer demand has remained stable and is now 5% higher than last year.

Related topics:  Finance News,  Housing market
Rozi Jones | Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
17th June 2024
house price sign sale
"We expect that the improved market activity levels and conditions this year will result in higher transaction numbers at the end of 2024 than last year."
- Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property

The average price of property coming to the market has dropped by just £21 this month, as prices in June follow the same seasonal pattern as recent years and remain flat after reaching a record in May, the latest figures from Rightmove show.

Price trends differ across Great Britain, and the strongest price growth this month is occurring in the less expensive and more northerly regions, with five of the six cheapest areas reaching new price records. By contrast, the higher-priced East of England and London regions lag and see this month’s only regional price falls.

Now that a General Election has been called, Rightmove’s data and a poll of over 14,000 home-movers suggest that activity is largely remaining stable, with the market maintaining its 2024 momentum. The number of sales being agreed and the number of buyers sending enquiries to agents remain steady, with the vast majority of those already in the home-moving market continuing with their plans. One exception is possible election caution among some would-be sellers, which is most pronounced for those at the typically more discretionary top end of the market, some of whom appear to be pausing their plans to see how the next few weeks unfold.

Over the last four weeks, the number of sales being agreed between buyers and sellers has remained stable at 6% above the same period last year, emphasising that those in the market are generally continuing with their plans despite the surprise General Election. Buyer demand, as measured by the number of people contacting estate agents about homes for sale, has also remained steady and is currently 5% higher than last year.

However, one area of activity that does appear to have seen some impact from the election being called is the number of new sellers coming to market, mainly due to some hesitancy at the top end. In the last two weeks, the overall number of new sellers coming to market is just 1% higher than the same period a year ago. By contrast, during the two weeks prior, the number of new sellers deciding to come to market was a more robust 6% above 2023’s level, highlighting a slight drop off in new seller activity as news of the surprise election announcement caused some hesitancy, This dip is most prominent in the top-end sector, covering the largest five-bedroom-plus properties and four-bedroom detached houses. The number of new sellers choosing to come to market in the last two weeks in this sector is 3% lower than the same period a year ago, compared with being 11% higher than 2023 in the previous two weeks.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property, commented: “It’s always difficult to predict how home-movers will react to sudden uncertainty, but looking back through our data, we can see that during previous election campaigns, market activity has remained largely steady. This election has followed a similar pattern so far, and the responses from our poll of over 14,000 people also supports the data, with the vast majority of respondents saying they will carry on with their home-moving plans. However, some potential sellers appear to be watching and waiting rather than taking action, evidenced by a dip in the number of new sellers coming to market, particularly at the top-end. This is understandable when many of these sellers have more flexibility over when they act, but overall, it appears to be business as usual for the mass-market.

“We expect that the improved market activity levels and conditions this year will result in higher transaction numbers at the end of 2024 than last year. However, the extremely lengthy legal completion process is a frustrating barrier to home-movers converting agreed sales into completed transactions more quickly. It may seem surreal to be thinking about Christmas in May, but we know that many would-be sellers picture celebrating the festivities in a new home, and to achieve that, now is the time to be coming to market. One strategy that is still giving some sellers the edge in this price-sensitive market, is working closely with an estate agent to price attractively right at the start of marketing, to give themselves the best chance of finding a buyer quickly.”

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