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House sales ease but rental demand continues to soar

Estate agents experienced the first confirmed indications that high housing market demand eased across the UK in June, their professional body Propertymark has reported.

Some home sellers are finding they pitched their selling price too high for the current market, it said.

‘Traditional’ seasonal trends appear to be re-establishing themselves, according to Propertymark, noting that the average number of viewings per property fell from 6.2 in April to 4.4 in June.

However, there were on average nine sales agreed per member branch in June, the same number as the previous two months. But sales agreed as a percentage of stock remained high in June, at 33 per cent. ‘This is compared to the pre-pandemic average of 17 per cent of stock sold in the month of June between 2010 to 2019’.

‘For the past two years agents have seen a relentless market which defied patterns that we as practitioners had become accustomed to’, said Propertymark chief executive Nathan Emerson. ‘However, this summer is seeing seasonal trends return. This cooling down is allowing the number of homes available to buy to recover, and interestingly, a subtle but telling change is in the prices being achieved.

‘Compared to March 2022, this month has seen a 12 per cent increase in the number of agents reporting that the majority of their sales were agreed below asking price’.

Propertymark had previously reported that the average number of properties available for rent per member branch has been gradually rising. Even so, ‘the vast majority (80 per cent) of responding agents reported rents continuing to increase month-on-month in June’.

It concluded that the increase in supply, up to 11 properties per member branch in June, was substantially insufficient to meet demand, with an average of 93 new tenant applicants per branch.

‘It is good to see a slight increase in stock levels this month, but with that being said, this barely scratches the surface on what is needed in order to limit the ever-widening gap between supply and demand’, said Emerson.

‘There is a decreasing number of incentives for landlords to remain within the sector especially with the many incoming regulatory pressures on the horizon. We need reassurance from all Governments that they will address this increasingly pressing issue and in turn ease the pressure within the private rented sector’.