Robust Property Market as Sales Increase in Q1
The UK property market has indicated its robustness with the number of residential property sales increasing between February and March and on a year-to-year basis.
According to HMRC data, 101,830 completions took place last month, taking the total Q1 2019 figure to 301,290 – a 1.9% increase on the same period in 2018.
Asking prices have also risen over the period with Rightmove reporting a 1.1% (£3,477) increase in the month to 6th April, the largest month-on-month rise since March last year. This suggests a potential summer rally in the market with some commentators speculating that would-be buyers and sellers alike are ‘bored of Brexit’ and pressing on with their property plans.
Mike Scott, property analyst at Yopa commented that: “HMRC’s figures for the number of homes sold in March show that the property market remains stable. The seasonally adjusted number of sales was 1.4% higher than in February 2019 and 6.8% higher than in March 2018.”
“A more resilient picture than might have been expected”
According to Rightmove director Miles Shipside, the latest Brexit delay agreed between Theresa May and the European Union has afforded a longer window of certainty to the market, albeit some of the completions reported in Q1 of this year would have begun negotiations in November, December last year. However, the arrival of warmer weather and the Easter weekend has helped build seasonal momentum in the market.
As Bruce King, Director of estate agency Cheffins put it: “Sentiment in the market at the moment is ‘bored of Brexit’ – fed up with sitting on their hands, sellers are now looking to get on with their lives and move house, and buyers are looking to secure somewhere new.”
According to Jeremy Leaf, former residential chairman at RICS, there is still plenty of pent-up demand in the market.
He said: “As always, transaction numbers are a better guide to property market health than prices, which can change quite sharply month by month.”
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“These figures show a more resilient picture than might have been expected.”
“Although we do sense pent-up demand has not been released and many are itching to get into the market once a clearer picture emerges.”