The UK housing market has been going through a confusing time lately, with buyers and sellers trying to work out what uncertainty surrounding Brexit will mean for property sales.
But while all isn’t yet clear, some housing reports have been giving clues about current market trends.
To get a snapshot of what’s been happening in recent weeks, and what might happen in the coming months, here’s a look at what some experts and commentators have been saying…
Competition between mortgage lenders to attract first-time buyers has been increasing
A mortgage price war has been particularly intense in the first-time buyer end of the market, according to Moneyfacts. But first-time buyers will still need to make sure they can meet lenders’ criteria to get a loan.
The number of homes on estate agents’ books close to record lows
If you’re looking for a home, you may not find too much choice – although of course, this will vary depending on where you live.
Average stock levels on estate agents’ books were close to a record low in March, a monthly survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) recently found.
There were slightly over 42 properties on average per branch in March – edging up from just under 42 in February.
Homes are taking 19 weeks to sell on average
It now takes 19 weeks on average for a home to sell, from it going on the market to the sale being completed, according to Rics.
House prices across the UK generally are expected by some experts to edge down in the coming months – but over the longer term the trend is still upwards. But in Scotland, Rics says house prices have continued to grow.
Meanwhile, surveyors expect prices to generally be higher in 12 months’ time – with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales leading the way in terms of surveyors’ expectations.
It’s not all about Brexit – house price growth is still influenced by what’s happening in your local area
The strength or weakness of a housing market can depend on all sorts of factors – such as the strength of demand and the supply of properties in a particular area, and how close an area is to popular schools.
While London and the south east of England have witnessed a slowdown, other parts of the UK have been affected by the impact of other factors.
Demand is building in the “prime” property markets
The prime housing market, which includes homes in the top 5% price bracket, held up “better than expected” in the first quarter of 2019, according to real estate adviser Savills.
There is a growing pool of demand developing among buyers who are taking “a wait and see approach”, it said.
Some sellers need to watch out for “gazundering”
Gazundering, where a buyer lowers their offer for a home at the last minute, is becoming a growing problem, according to a recent report. Some 45% of people think gazundering is a serious issue, up from 40% when research was carried out last year, the report from the HomeOwners Alliance, BLP Insurance and Resi.co.uk architects found.
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