UK property listings fall as market cools

File photo dated 19/1/2016 of terraced residential houses in south east London. Nearly half of working private renters in England could not afford their rent for more than a month if they lost their job, Shelter has found.
The latest RICS residential housing survey has shown that property agents saw another fall in new homes listed on the market. Sales also went in the same direction. Photo: PA

The UK's housing market came off the boil in August, as the stamp duty holiday came to an end.

The latest RICS residential housing survey has shown that property agents saw another fall in new homes listed on the market. Sales also went in the same direction.

New buyer enquiries fell for the second month in a row, with a net balance of -14% of respondents saying they had seen even fewer house hunters (following a -9% reading in July).

Agreed sales also declined at the same time – with a net balance of -18% reporting a fall.

Looking forward, respondents were more optimistic about the market’s prospects, with sales over the next three months expected to stabilise (net balance of +4%) before returning to modest growth (+7% net balance) when looking over the next year.

On a regional level, the responses show sales expectations for the year ahead are most positive across London, Northern Ireland and the South East of England.

New listings were down again with a net balance of -37% reporting yet another fall – with eight of the last nine months seeing new listings in negative territory. Stock levels on agent’s books have also dropped from an average of 42 homes per branch at the start of 2021, to stand at 38 in August, getting close to near record lows.

As a result of demand outpacing supply, respondents continued to report strong rates of house price inflation – with a net balance of +73% saying they’d seen prices increase since the previous month’s survey. Looking to the year ahead, a net balance of +66% said they don’t expect prices to continue rising at a national level, the same reading reported in July.

Read more: UK average house price hit record high of £262,954 in August

The latest Halifax Price Index also showed that average house prices headed higher again in August, with the cost of a property increasing by 0.7% or £1,789 ($2,477).

Back-to-back monthly price gains have now pushed the cost of a typical home to a record of £262,954, topping the previous high of £261,642 recorded in May this year.

Tenant demand for homes to rent also accelerated in August, said RICS, with a net balance of +66% reporting a pick-up in enquires (up from the +58% in the previous month).

However, a continuing decline in landlord instructions fuelled expectations among survey respondents (net balance of +64%) that rents will go up over the next three months given this imbalance between supply and demand.

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