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Housing Market Activity October 2015

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–– HMRC data show home sales fell by 7.4% in August compared to the previous month and were 1.9% down on August 2014.

–– The supply of houses for sale has slumped to its lowest level for 11 years. Research from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) reveals the volume of properties available to buy per estate agent branch fell to 38 in August, down 31% on the July figure of 55. This is the lowest level of supply recorded since January 2004.

–– House-building activity in the UK this year is set to top levels seen in 2014, according to new figures released today by NHBC. The new home registrations statistics reveal an increase of 11% for the rolling quarter June- August, compared to the same period last year.

–– Research from Which? magazine reveals that older buyers are more likely to take their time viewing a property – and that those who spent more time viewing are also more likely to pay under the asking price.

–– Foreign investors are increasingly targeting UK residential property. Hong Kong group Great Wall Real Estate Investments recently secured its first deals in a £1bn push into UK residential development. Great Wall will typically target small and medium-sized schemes where it is less likely to have to compete with major UK institutions.

–– A survey by the National Landlords Association (NLA) has revealed landlord attitudes towards pensions. Up to 19% have no retirement provision in place, 25% plan to sell properties to fund their retirement, and 61% expect to live off portfolio income at retirement. Another 34% say they are undecided and will assess the market when they reach retirement age.

–– A new report by the Sutton Trust highlights the continued rise in the number of graduates being forced to live with parents or in shared accommodation. The number of single people aged 25 to 34 living in shared accommodation has risen by 28% over the last decade. In 2014, there were only two London boroughs – Bexley and Barking & Dagenham – where the average house price was less than eight times an average person’s income.

The twin evils of affordability and a shortage of homes for sale continue to plague the national market, despite an increase in house building and record low interest rates. Within the prime sector there is anecdotal evidence of strong pent-up buyer demand, which will encourage vendors and eventually translate into sales.
Nick Barnes, Chestertons’ Head of Research

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