Older home owners are an active group in the property market in the UK with a 46% rise in housing exchanges in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, new research shows.
Transactions in this group are being fuelled by a combination of pension drawdown and equity retrieval as the baby boom generation accesses the wealth accumulated in their properties and pensions, according to the national home mover report from customer insights company TwentyCi.
Nearly one in every five exchanges were represented by a flat, up 10% year on year while detached homes have seen the greatest levels of decline with a fall of 12%. The report suggests that more families appear to be improving rather than moving.
The data also shows that over half of all exchanges in the first three months of 2018 were terraced and semi-detached houses, up nearly 17% year on year.
‘Nationally, property exchanges are up nearly 8% compared to the first quarter of 2017, suggesting a continued building of confidence, stability and momentum in the market,’ said the firm’s chief customer officer Colin Bradshaw.
‘Following the usual quarter four slowdown, the first quarter has seen 100,000 more properties come on to the market. However, year on year we’ve only seen a 1% increase in listings, implying conversion rates have increased,’ he added.
He pointed out that overall the report demonstrates a nationwide stability in the property market with the average house price remaining unchanged at £297,000 along with a 14% growth in households entering the house moving journey compared to the previous quarter.
London saw a 3% growth in exchanges quarter on quarter while property exchanges are up nearly 8% and the data shows that in the last year, Northampton, Edinburgh and Glasgow were the three fastest places to sell a property.
An increase in demand in the East Midlands and East of England is driving a growth in the average asking price of properties year on year of 4% and 5% respectively. While property prices at the upper end at £2 million plus are experiencing a decline in volumes year on year. All other price brands in between are seeing growth levels as high as 12%.
Estate agents are also now selling properties faster than a year ago. In the first quarter of 2018 it took an average of 76.8 days to sell a property, seven days faster than in the first quarter of 2017.
‘It is good to see stability coming into the market with prices remaining flat and some increase in activity. It should be noted that whilst we are getting a better shape on the future of Brexit there are many twists and turns ahead before we fully understand the post Brexit landscape,’ Bradshaw explained.
“It is also clear the demand for flats and apartments in cities and large towns is on the rise. We are also seeing a big movement in buyers aged 66 and over moving to semi-detached properties. This infers either an increase in downsizing to release equity which we would expect to trickle into the economy, or alternatively older couples splitting up,’ he added.
The research also shows that outside of London, all of the big cities have seen a large rise in the percentage of rental properties over the past year, and with Glasgow, Manchester and Leicester seeing the highest growth in rental prices, up by 6% over the past 12 months.
Edinburgh is the only big city that did not see a large increase in the percentage of rental properties in the last year. The average property price in the big cities remains relatively static with some small growth, although Sheffield saw a slight decline in asking prices in the last quarter and last year.
In London year on year, all areas have seen a growth in the proportion of rental listings, with the exception of West Central London. The hottest area was North London which saw a 12% increase in rentals available since last year.