The housing market remains strong
Demand for new properties and the flow of homes being listed for sale across the UK’s housing market has remained strong over the past month.
The October 2020, RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Residential Market Survey reported more properties being listed for sale and pent-up demand among buyers.
As current guidelines permit the market to stay open during the second lockdown, respondents expect the latest upturn in sales to continue for the rest of the year.
For 2021, however, the outlook for sales remains subdued, given the withdrawal of government support measures (including stamp duty holiday) and a difficult economic backdrop.
During October, the number of people looking to buy a new property increased for the fifth consecutive month.
In keeping with the rise in demand, the number of new properties being listed for sale also increased for the fifth successive report.
The number of properties sitting on estate agents’ books remains relatively low in the historical context, but October saw average stock levels move up from 42 to 43 per branch.
As more properties are listed for sale and the pent-up demand continues, the number of agreed sales continue to rise.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, says: “The housing market remains very busy and despite the second national lockdown, the sense is that this will persist over the coming months and into the new year.
“However, there is understandably more caution about activity looking beyond the first quarter of 2021.
“Aside from the withdrawal of governments incentives, the market may also find the more challenging employment picture a significant obstacle even with interest rates set to remain close to zero for some time to come.
“That said, medium term expectations for house prices and private rents have barely been dented by Covid according to the latest survey.
“Indeed, the projections still point to increases likely to exceed wage growth highlighting the ongoing issue around affordability.”