Property exchanges increased by 7.4% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter last year, suggesting a sustained level of activity in a subdued property market, the latest analysis report shows.
But the number of new property instructions fell in the first three months of the year by 5.3% to 430,000, according to the TwentyCi property and home mover report.
It also shows that the only regions in the UK where average asking prices are continuing to grow are the East Midlands, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Following the European Union referendum in 2016, prices in the North East and North West continued to grow but have now levelled off.
Average asking prices have remained relatively static in the last year, with areas such as London and the South East seeing a small decline. The relative stability of house prices is indicative of the lack of supply compared to demand, which is enabling sellers to realise close to their listed price.
When it comes to the UK’s major cities, it’s a mixed picture. Most have seen a modest increase in average asking price, but in both Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne prices are down 1% while in Glasgow they’ve fallen by 5%.
As in previous reports, the data shows a high percentage of properties listed to rent compared with those listed for sale in most of the UK’s large cities. The report suggest this is driven by barriers to buying a home.
Year on year, Glasgow and Edinburgh have seen the greatest increase in rental activity, as supply begins to balance demand and these cities become more rental prominent. Conversely, cities such as Sheffield and Nottingham have seen an increase in sale activity year on year.
In London the picture is mixed with some areas seeing a fall in average asking prices, most notably in South West postcodes. This is consistent with the previous report covering the fourth quarter of 2018 and the firm says this is likely to be the result of price recalibration after a period of excessive inflation, the impact of Brexit and a decline in the level of foreign investment.
In other areas of the capital the availability of new housing stock, predominantly apartments, at a lower price point has also reduced average asking prices.
In the first quarter of the year nearly 70% of all London listings were for rental properties compared with an average of 50% in all other major UK cities. The rental market is being fuelled as consumers are priced out of the buying process in a trend that has continued from previous quarters.
‘The lack of properties coming to market combined with the continued hiatus on the outcome of the Brexit process is undoubtedly holding the property market back,’ said Colin Bradshaw, TwentyCi’s chief customer officer.
‘The continued deferment of decisions by homeowners to enter the property market is holding back supply and in turn progression throughout the property ladder. Should we achieve an orderly exit from the EU and a two year transition then consumer confidence may return fuelling an increase in both volume and momentum within the property market,’ he added.