Sales, offers and new instructions fall in the UK, says housing market research

Property transactions in the UK have fallen by a third in the past three months as Brexit uncertainty weighs on the housing market, according to new research.

An analysis of data from thousands of estate agents’ offices found strong indicators of a stalled market across the board with exchanges down by 36% between November last year and January 2019 when compared to a five year average.

The study from software estate agents platform Reapit also found that new instructions have fallen 10% to a five year low over the same period.

Properties under offer were down 8% on the long term average, viewings were down 5% and market appraisals of properties were down 2.5%.

‘Although house prices remain reasonably resilient, our research sheds light on the extent to which Brexit uncertainty has affected property transactions in the past three months. Our data reveal that property sales per estate agent have dropped by a third when compared to the long term average,’ said Gary Barker, chief executive officer of Reapit.

‘The 36% drop in sales represents an unprecedented five year November to January low. It’s doubly concerning for estate agents because seasonally, this is a quieter period for transactions compared to the summer months,’ he pointed out.

‘It’s fair to say that the housing market is holding its breath as we await the Brexit outcome. Nobody wants to risk being on the wrong side of a potential house price crash, so the market sentiment is to wait and see,’ he explained.

He also pointed out that once there is more clarity over Brexit the pent-up demand of people waiting to buy, and supply of people waiting to sell, could result in an upswing in activity for the housing industry.

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