Buyer sentiment picks up across UK to highest in five years, claim

Published : 2nd August 2017


Buyer sentiment improved in the second quarter, Strutt & Parker figures show, as the Brexit and Stamp Duty vote pushed prices lower.

Guy Robinson, head of regional residential agency at Strutt & Parker, said new applicants were up year-on-year at the end of the second quarter of 2017.

He said: “When we look at the average number of applicants we have per property across the UK, it’s higher than it has been at any point since 2012.

“More prospective buyers lead to higher viewing numbers, which should generate an increase in sales, which is very encouraging.”

The figures came from Strutt & Parker’s quarterly residential report for the second quarter of 2017, which also showed prices in the capital fell 2% while transactions in the prime central London (PCL) market were up 24.3% compared with the same time period in 2016.

However, total transactions in PCL decreased by 3.5% in comparison to the first quarter of 2017 and are 22.7% below the five-year average.

The agent has also warned that most of the downward pressures on prices from the recent political upheaval are likely to have been experienced.

The report said many buyers had chosen to “just get on with it” after a lengthy period of inactivity, stating: “The increased levels of trade and buyer interest are in part due to lower values.

“If the recent upturn in transaction levels continues, there is a chance that pricing will pick up in the second half of the year and regain the falls experienced in the first half. Even so, the market remains sensitive and any further political upheaval or negative news will put this at risk.”

The report suggests that realistic pricing and the continued attractiveness of sterling will continue to be key factors affecting market activity levels in the higher price sectors.

Charlie Willis, head of London residential agency at Strutt & Parker, said: “Transaction levels in PCL, across all price bands, are up on this time last year and this uptick in volumes is very welcome.

“However, the values being achieved are lower than they have been – savvy buyers are choosing now to take advantage of current pricing.

“While one might have expected more transactions from overseas buyers due to the currency benefits currently at play, domestic buyers are the more prolific.

“We expect prices to remain flat for the rest of 2017 and into 2018 which we hope could spur further activity.”

The report also forecasts UK house price growth at 3% this year and in 2018 and 2019.