With January now in full swing, Agency Express has released its property market round-up of 2016, looking back at how the industry changed over the year:
2016 started out on a very strong foot, with buoyant monthly growth in both new listings for sale, up by 93.7%, and properties sold, up by 31.2%. Looking back at Agency Express’ historical data, these increases were the largest for January since the Property Activity Index began in 2007.
January’s unseasonal growth appeared to be primarily driven by a large increase in mortgage approvals throughout December 2015, while a flood of landlords put their properties on the market to avoid the impending Stamp Duty changes on additional homes.
February and March
January’s buoyant trend continued into February, as the firm witnessed further growth across the market, fuelled by a sense of urgency to complete sales before the Stamp Duty hike in April. Month-on-month, new listings for sale rose by 23.3%, while the number of properties sold increased by 37.6%. The increase in activity marked a particularly strong month for the North West. Following five slow months, the region recorded a 51% rise in properties sold.
However, heading into March, the momentum did not continue. But with an early Easter holiday, a slowdown was not unexpected. Across the month, the amount of properties sold dropped by 10%, while the number of properties for sale fell by 4.7%.
April and May
Agency Express’ Property Market Round-Up of 2016
April and May were equally as mixed as the previous period. Following the slowdown in activity over March, April bounced back, with new listings up by 8.2%. Nevertheless, the amount of properties sold did not show the same resilience, declining by 1.5%. It was in this month that the Council of Mortgage Lenders claimed that the property market had been distorted by the Stamp Duty changes, and that it expected to see 10,000 fewer mortgage transactions each month in April, May and June than would otherwise have been the case, which would offset the increase in activity recorded in previous months.
During May, the amount of properties sold fell even further, by 4.4%, while new listings dropped by 3.7%. Although a slowdown in activity over May is not unusual, the decrease was greater than in years previous, reinforcing that the Stamp Duty hike did indeed distort the market.
June to September
The property market recorded growth over June, with new listings up by 10.6% and properties sold by 2%. These increases also appeared consistent with reports from Dr. Rebecca Harding, the Chief Economic Advisor at the British Bankers’ Association, who stated: “Mortgage approvals had bounced back following the sharp drop caused by the initial reaction to the Stamp Duty surcharge.”
July remained true to trend, with a slowdown at the start of the summer holidays. However, the number of properties sold during August bucked the seasonal trend, rising by 2.8% – a record best for the month. As we entered September, normal activity resumed.
October and November
During October, a seasonal slowdown is expected. The number of properties sold rose by just 0.3%, while new listings dropped by 11.2%. While the adjustment came as no surprise, the decrease in figures was greater than those recorded 12 months previous, when new listings fell by 4.3% and properties sold increased by 2.7%.
Moving into November, this decline was expected to continue. However, the month saw an unseasonal spike, with new listings decreasing by just 4.7% (compared to 12.2% in 2015) and properties sold by 1.8% (compared with 14.7% in the previous year). In its property market round-up, Agency Express found that the industry has not experienced this level of activity in November since 2013.
The firm’s latest data has, as expected, revealed declines in December’s property market. Staying true to trend, new listings dropped by 43.8%, while the amount of properties sold fell by 37%.
Commenting on its property market round-up of 2016, the Managing Director of Agency Express, Stephen Watson, says: “As the UK’s largest estate agency board service provider, we are the first to witness growth in the UK property market. The services we deliver are closely tracked and monitored via our estate agency board management system, Signmaster3. We collect board movement data 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from a property being placed on the market to completion of sale. As a result, we are able to share this information with you and compare what is happening on the streets to what is being reported by financial institutions.
“Over the past 12 months, we’ve witnessed a mixed property market, which has been heavily affected by various Government changes and announcements. As we move into 2017, and with predictions of house price increases, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts over the next six months.”
We will keep you updated of all the changes in the UK property market at LandlordNews.co.uk.