The UK housing market showed some positive signs that it was shaking off its Brexit lethargy, with demand for homes rising in December 2019, according to NAEA Propertymark (formally National Association of Estate Agents).
Its December Housing Market survey has revealed that although the number of sales agreed per member branch fell from seven in November to six in December 2019, the year-on-year figure increased. In both December 2017 and December 2018 the sales agreed per member branch was five.
First Time Buyer (FTB) Market improving
NAEA Propertymark also reported that the number of sales made to FTBs increased marginally in December 2019, rising from 28 per cent in November to 29 per cent. Year-on-year, this is an increase of five percentage points from December 2018 when the number of sales made to the group stood at 24 per cent.
Year-on-year, housing demand is up, rising from 304 house hunters per branch in December 2018 to 313 in December 2019. However, this is still a decrease from November, when there were 332 house hunters registered per estate agent branch. The December 2019 figure is the lowest seen since June 2019 when there were 305 prospective buyers registered.
Supply and demand is steady
The number of properties available per member branch rose from 39 in November 2019, to 41 in December 2019. This is the highest seen since August 2019 when it stood at 44. Year-on-year, the supply of housing is down marginally, falling from 42 in December 2018.
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “After a period of suppressed market activity due to Brexit and political uncertainty, the clear outcome of the General Election in December has injected some much-needed confidence into the market.
“Despite it typically being a quieter time of year seasonally, our figures have shown positive trends with both demand and the number of sales being high in comparison to previous years, as both buyers and sellers no longer hold off on their plans. This is an encouraging close to the year and we hope to see more of this stability in 2020.”
David Knapp, Partner and head of residential property at law firm Hart Brown, said there were indications that the housing market was looking more promising in 2020.
“Although the new year is very fresh there have already been perceptible signs of the residential property market waking up and more buyers and sellers having the confidence to look to buy and sell,” he said.
“Our residential property department has already had a number of clients making contact with us agreeing deals on their sale of top end properties that have been marketed for up to two years without hither to having had any sign of interest. The number of new instructions for our residential property department in the first two weeks of January is higher than any January I can remember.”