The Rightmove Take on Post-Election Market Conditions
The online property portal Rightmove sees millions of visitors each day, searching the million or so homes available for sale and rent listed on the website. Their data on prices and buyer demand therefore gives us an interesting insight into the market as it stands. They recently published figures on the state of the housing market in the period following the election.
They report prices in June reaching an average of £294,351, a record average asking price, a rise of 3.0 per cent on the monthly measure and in monetary terms a rise of £8,460. It also represents the largest rise ever seen in June by Rightmove and points to a boost in prices and buyer demand sparked by the political calm and certainty following the Conservative victory.
In the months preceding the election there was an unseasonal lull in demand and price rises. The feeling was that the uncertainty over the election result and the prospect of the Mansion Tax being enacted was holding back buyers and sellers.
The previous record asking price was £286,133, recorded in April of this year and still £8,218 below the June figure. Rightmove reported a price dip during May of 0.1 per cent due to the election, so the 3.0 per cent rise across June in part rectifies the pause in demand of May, but also represents a strong jump in buyer interest in June.
Prices rose across 6 of the 10 regions of the UK that Rightmove break the country into for the purposes of the survey. The 4 southern regions along with the East and West Midlands saw rises, with London seeing the strongest price inflation across the month, with 5.7 per cent rises.
What’s behind the extent of the seller asking price rises? Well buyer demand is high, but the amount of housing becoming available has not reached the expected levels and this is pushing up prices. Following the May 2010 election there was a surge of 17 per cent more homes becoming available. In 2015 there has been no comparable rise.
Indeed, Rightmove calculate that on the monthly measure the number of homes coming onto the market fell by 3.9 per cent in June. Compared with the same period in 2014, the 30 days following the election have seen the amount of fresh housing stock coming onto the market is down by 8.5 per cent.
This is a worrying trend and a reflection of the lack of affordable new builds in general coming onto the market. The only exception picked up by Rightmove in the post-election period was properties over £2 million, of which there was an 86 per cent leap in availability, now that the threat of the Mansion Tax has abated.