The Housing Market – A Good Moment for Sales?
Here at Robert Oulsnam and Company we have watched the housing market across the Midlands boom for the last 15 months – until July we had seen strong prices and sales being made within good time from the original listing of the property. In July the market stuttered somewhat, with sales declining and prices beginning to stagnate. What are we to make of this trend from the perspective of the sales market? Should we be worried about a significant loss of confidence in the market and a further decline in sales?
The short answer must be no. The sales market remains strong and confidence amongst consumers in the sales market across the UK is as high as it ever has been, and this bodes well for the future. According to the Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker 57 per cent of those asked during Q2 of 2014 stated that they felt that the next 12 months would be a good time to sell a property – against only 32 per cent who believed that the next year would conversely be a bad time to attempt to sell.
The figure of 57 per cent represents the highest score registered by the Confidence Tracker since it was first set up in April 2011. Even more encouragingly the figure was even higher if the survey sample is limited to owner-occupiers of properties, of whom 63 per cent stated that the next 12 months would be a good time to sell.
We may have seen a slow July – but this has to be seen against a context of over a years’ market growth. Moreover, any estimation of the sales market has to bear in mind the news that emerged at the very end of July that homes were still selling across the UK in record-breaking times. According to a report issued by Move With Us, the time for houses to sell in the UK is now at its fastest since 2007, and is on average just 88 days, 16 days faster than the rate during Q2 last year.
The figures for the Midlands are slap-bang on this average, with sale times in the West Midlands at 89 days, and for the East Midlands at 87 days, in both cases the fastest rate seen since May 2009, and an rate increase of 17 and 15 per cent on the same period last year. In traditionally strong markets such as London and the South East the figures are even lower, with the average selling time in London being 43 days, and for the South East sitting at 59 days.
Only in regions where the sales market has struggled such as the Wales and the North is the figure above 100 days, though even in the North East where it takes 138 days or a house to sell this represents the lowest figure since May 2009 and a 26 per cent rate increase on Q2 last year.
All in all the market is still holding up well, despite fears over the administrative delays and limits to capital being made available to prospective buyers following the Mortgage Market Review in April.