A new report released by haart estate agents has shown that property prices throughout England and Wales fell by 1.6% during December. This resulted in an overall drop of 3.3% year-on-year, with the average property price at £224,991.
The investigation indicates that new buyer demand for homes slipped by 15.1% in December and is well down year-on-year, by 38.8%. What’s more, the number of homes coming onto the market declined by 16.7% in the month and by 7.5% in the year. Despite the decrease in stock, there has also been a decrease in the number of buyers. This meant there were nine buyers per instruction during December.
In addition, the market was more efficient in December, as transactions increased despite the number of viewings dropping. This means that buyers are looking at fewer properties before buying.
Average purchase prices for first-time buyers rose during December, by 7.6%, but remain stable year-on-year. The rate of first-time buyers entering the market slipped by 17.3% month-on-month and by 44.7% in the year.
In London, the average price of a property slipped by 2.5% in the last month, leading annual growth to slip to 5.9%. The fall seen in December in the capital was greater than across the rest of England and Wales.
Property prices down by 3.3% year-on-year
The number of tenants coming onto the market fell by 12% in December, but increased by 1.7% year-on-year. In London, the fall was more prominent, with falls of 20.2% in the month and by 65.1% annually.
Buy-to-let sales also fell in the month and in the year.
Paul Smith, CEO of haart, observed: ‘A slight jump in transactions in December is definitely very promising, pointing to a cohort who have stopped sitting on their hands, brushed off their Brexit uncertainty and started to move on with their lives. Our applicant activity in the period after Christmas to date is up 5% on the year, which when considering the pre-stamp duty rush in early 2016, is very impressive. If the economy remains sound, renewed interest should translate into higher transaction rates in 2017.’
‘It is certainly time we all moved on. The idea of Article 50 holding up someone’s decision to buy or sell a home is ridiculous nearly a year on from the referendum, especially as the economy has remained so robust. Prices cooling down is a good thing for buyers – now is a great time for them to get a good deal,’ he added.