The Autumn statement had an upbeat feel and yielded some positive news for the housing industry. However, this is no time to celebrate while the cost-of-living crisis continues to limp on. In the letting sector, the number of new prospective tenants registered per member branch has decreased month on month since July 2023.
The base rate was held in September, GDP is growing slowly, the construction materials price index is decreasing, and Propertymark Commercial agent sentiment is increasing in several key areas. However, economic uncertainty remains and improvements in sentiment are generally from a low base.
There has been a slight reduction in available properties for sale and this reflects ongoing market uncertainty. More concerningly, the vast majority of properties continue to sell below asking price pointing to a pricing correction despite average house prices continuing to rise. Governments across the UK continue to tinker with legislation and legislative programs, disincentivising landlords along the way. Supply in the PRS remains tight with far more applicant registrations than properties available.
There has been little urgency from governments across the UK to address the supply and demand issue by incentivising investment for landlords. The sales market is strong as we see a 29% rise in the number of new properties for sale when compared with last month.
As the number of viewings and valuations drop, this report indicates a shift to only the more serious homebuyers and sellers remaining proactive in the sales market. In the lettings market, we continue to see an alarming disparity in the number of homes available to rent when compared with growing demand from prospective tenants.
Financial implications, practicality, consequences, and communication surrounding energy efficiency measures are key concerns cited in Propertymark’s latest report which provides recommendations to help homeowners, landlords, and tenants save money, create new jobs and fight climate change.
Despite disappointing national economic news, the number of valuations for sale conducted per branch has remained steady. The number of properties available to rent is 19 per cent lower than last year, while the number of new prospective tenants registering per member branch is up 27 per cent. This worrying mismatch between supply and demand continues to put pressure on rents.
The commercial property market has seen a sluggish start to 2023. Since the Kwarteng budget of September 2022, the market has been subdued. And while we have continued to see small gains in capital values, there seems little drive in the market from investors at present. These patterns are clearly reflected in our latest Commercial Outlook.
Our latest report has revealed that online auctions, particularly non-live formats, have gained popularity and surpassed traditional ballroom auctions, indicating a potential long-term shift away from in-person auctions.
In 2018 Propertymark published a report titled 'Leasehold: A Life Sentence?' Based on the findings of that report, we helped to drive legislative change that has so far culminated in the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022. Following this change, we investigated whether anything had changed in the world of leasehold.
Figures released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) back up evidence given to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Commons Committee by Propertymark on 28 June 2023. Head of Policy and Campaigns Timothy Douglas warned MPs of vulnerable tenants being priced out of the market.
Despite the current economic conditions, it is reassuring to see that the number of new prospective buyers coming to the market is only four per cent lower than last year when the sales market was in a frenzy. In terms of lettings, a worrying mismatch is continuing in supply and demand levels.
This report analyses the sentiment of letting agents in Wales regarding the Welsh Government’s plan to introduce fair rents. 41 per cent of agents reported that landlords had raised concerns with them about the potential fair rent legislation, indicating anxiety about the impact on their ability to provide homes in Wales.
The fall in demand from buyers has allowed the number of homes available for sale to recover some. But we are seeing a steady level of transactions happening which is good news for the market and the wider economy. In the rental market, we are still seeing the demand for property grow but no increase in homes.
With the number of sales and appraisals month on month remaining healthy, a strong appetite continues within the sales market. In the lettings sector, the issue of undersupply remains with no movement seen in the number of properties available to rent. This translates to an average of 10 prospective tenants registering per available property.
In December 2022, we responded to a call for evidence from the Scottish Government using data from a survey of Propertymark member agents. This report is based on a follow-up survey that was open in February 2023 and looked predominantly at the impact of the extension to the temporary measures of The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act.