December Property Market Analysis
Are you sitting comfortably? There’s lots to digest! Property announcements happened from the very start to the very end of November, affecting buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords. First, let’s set the scene with prices.
The average asking price is falling, according to Rightmove. The portal has seen the average new seller asking price drop by 1.7% in November. This leaves the average asking price at £362,143.
Price gaps appearing
And now for the disparity. Zoopla has also been watching how much offers have been reduced by. Its sales are being agreed at 5.5% lower than the asking price. The portal also says the average UK house price is £264,600, with prices falling 1.2% compared to a year ago.
Mortgage approvals hit a 3-month high
While prices may be moderating, there is an upward trend in home loans. At the end of November, the Bank of England reported that mortgage approvals hit a three-year high. The figure is 8% higher on a monthly basis, suggesting that borrowers are more accepting of current rates.
Bookending the month was the Leasehold and Freehold Bill. The reform proposals were first mentioned in the King’s Speech at the start of November, while the Bill itself was announced at the very end of the month.
The Leasehold and Freehold Bill was rushed through at such pace that a vital aspect was missing – the proposal to actually ban new houses being built with leasehold status. With the Bill’s first reading complete, the Government will need to propose an amendment so the reform is included. It is hoped the law will change before the General Election.
Also making an appearance at the end of November were more details regarding Parts B and C of Material Information. This is the information an estate agent must display when it lists a property for sale or to rent. Part A is already in force, with The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) making it mandatory for a home’s council tax band or rate, property price or rent and tenure to be displayed.
We now know what information constitutes Parts B and C. Part B pertains to the type of property, the building materials used, the number of rooms and information about utilities and parking. Part C is information that only needs disclosing if the property is affected by the issue – such as flood risk, cladding, asbestos, restrictions, coastal erosion and accessibility/adaptations.
Conveyancers required early on
NTSELAT’s advice is for sellers to involve a conveyancer at the very start of their sale. This will ensure the material information they pass on to an estate agent is accurate. Information that forms Parts B and C will start to appear on property listing within the next 12 months.
Now to the Autumn Statement. Property highlights included an increase to the Local Housing Allowance rate. This has been lifted to the 30th percentile of local market rents, helping private landlords who accept benefits as a form of rent payment.
Addressing the undersupply of property
Elsewhere, the Government will consult on the matter of turning one house into two flats without the need for planning permission. It also announced a raft of funding and new measures to kick start housebuilding, and £3 million to explore how to improve the buying and selling process.
Finally, the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme was extended until June 2025, helping those with 5% deposits. A separate initiative was announced in Wales. Some Welsh borrowers can now access Help To Stay. This is an interest-free equity loan for those struggling to repay their mortgage.
If you would like to know more about your local property market, please get in touch.
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Propertymark’s latest report gathered responses from approximately 100 sales and 100 lettings agents 1st and 14th October 2023 for a great snapshot of the market. It found there were an average of 60 prospective buyers registered per branch, illustrating that there’s an appetite to move.
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