After an encouragingly buoyant first quarter, the market slowed in Q2 in reaction to various distractions including the snap general election, Brexit and the lingering impact of stamp duty hikes, all of which made buyers more cautious.
Nonetheless, all of the main indicators show improvement when compared to the same period a year ago: registered buyers were up by 12%, available properties was 29% up and, most notably, exchanges were a healthy 22% higher.
Whilst the election did not have the negative impact that many had feared, Brexit remained a concern, especially for overseas buyers and people working in the sectors most likely to be affected, such as the banking and financial services’ sectors. The phasing out of mortgage interest tax relief also acted as a brake on acquisitions by buy-to-let landlords.
Evidence of buyer caution was seen by a 16% drop in the number of newly registered buyers, 13% fewer viewings and a 2% fall in the number of exchanges versus Q1. Vendors also proved more reluctant to place their properties on the market, with new instructions 3% lower than in the previous quarter.