Lack of choice for new buyers

Momentum is continuing to ebb in Yorkshire and Humber's housing market as sales dip and the number of homes coming on to the market dropped to a historic low last month, according to the results of the monthly RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) UK Residential Market Survey.

Thursday, 11th May 2017, 11:20 am
Updated Thursday, 11th May 2017, 4:56 pm

The lack of choice for would-be buyers across Yorkshire and Humber is an ongoing issue, and last month only three per cent of respondents reported a rise in instructions (homes coming on to the market).

Worryingly, estate agents in the region reported an average of 46 properties on their books in April – a new historic low. During the same time period two years ago (April 2015) estate agents had 70 homes on their books. Consequently, newly agreed sales in the region dropped.

However, new buyer enquiries increased last month, with 17 per cent more respondents reporting a rise in enquiries (up from just two per cent in March).

Looking ahead, the flat picture for sales is expected to continue over the next three months as only three per cent more respondents expect to see a rise in sales over the time period. However, the twelve-month outlook is more optimistic with 24 per cent more respondents anticipating a pick-up in sales over the year ahead.

Despite the subdued backdrop, 31 per cent more respondents saw prices rising in April – underpinned by the lack of stock. Looking ahead, just nine per cent of respondents anticipate further price rises over the coming three months.

In the lettings market, the data shows that tenant demand rose moderately over the first quarter of the year, although momentum does appear to have faded over the past five months. At the same time, landlord instructions dropped in April and have been decreasing for the past four months, leading respondents to expect further modest rental growth.

Christopher R Jowett, MRICS of Jowett Chartered Surveyors, said: “We are entering the busy spring/summer market period. But the election may stall demand along with Brexit uncertainty.

“It is still hard for first time buyers to get on the market as house prices are artificially high.

“Consequently, demand for rental properties will remain strong, particularly from those in the age range 20-35 who find it very difficult to buy their first home.”

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, commented: “The bulk of the feedback we are receiving points to a fairly flat summer for both activity and prices. Lack of stock on the market remains a key challenge for the sector with recent and forthcoming tax changes having a material impact on transaction levels, particularly at higher price points.

“Uncertainty relating to the forthcoming general election is also highlighted by some respondents as a reason for inertia.”