MONTHLY MARKET REPORT – MAY 2018

By Steven Goovaerts

Hello and welcome to our May Monthly Market Insight, bringing you the latest residential market data and industry news in one place.

In a month which has seen Rightmove report record website visits and the Bank of England leave interest rates unchanged at 0.5%, we take a look at how has the market has performed and whether the national picture reflects local performance.

A quick look at this month’s UK-wide HPI releases...

Nationwide

Apr 2018

Mar 2018

Feb 2018

Annual

+2.6%

+2.1%

+2.2%

Month*

0.2%

-0.2%

-0.3%

Avg Price

£213,000

£211,625

£210,402

The Nationwide is the world's largest building society, and one of UK's largest mortgage providers. *Seasonally adjusted.

Robert Gardner, Chief Economist, Nationwide

“Surveyors continue to report subdued new buyer enquiries and a softening in new instructions.

Looking ahead, subdued economic activity and the ongoing squeeze on household budgets is likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and price growth this year.

We continue to expect house prices to rise by around 1% over the course of 2018.”

Cash Buyers

The share of cash transactions has declined a little over the past 18 months.  Introduction of additional SDLT on second properties has impacted the second home and rentals market, a large proportion of which tends to be conducted in cash. Nevertheless, cash buyers continue to account for circa ⅓ of transactions.

Demographic shifts are also playing a role.  As the UK population ages, the proportion of people who own their home outright has increased and they are more likely to transact in cash.  The number of people in England who own their home outright overtook mortgagees in 2014.

Land Registry data suggests cash purchases in London and the Outer regions is below the average for the UK.  This may reflect the fact that these are the most expensive regions, acting as a limiting factor.


 

Halifax

Apr 2018

Mar 2018

Feb 2018

Annual

+2.2%

+2.7%

+1.8%

Quarter

-0.1%

-0.1%

-0.7%

Month

-3.1%

+1.5%

+0.4%

Avg Price

£220,962

£227,871

£224,353

The Halifax House Price Index is the UK's longest running monthly house price series.

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax Community Bank:

“Quarterly and annual rates have fallen since last autumn, providing an indication of underlying trend.

Demand softened in early 2018, with mortgage approvals and completions falling.  Housing supply is also very low. However, the UK labour market is performing strongly with unemployment continuing to fall and wage growth finally picking up.  These factors should help ease pressure on household finances and annual price growth is expected to remain in the forecast range 0-3% this year.”

HMRC: UK sales fell 7.2% to 92,270 February to March 2018 – lowest since May 2016 (88,680).  Sales averaged 97,000 per month since December. Activity levels dipped 2.2% between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018.

Bank of England: Mortgage approvals for purchases fell for the 2nd month in March to 62,914 (–1.4%).  Approvals in Q1 2018 were +1.7% on Q4 2017, further indicating a subdued market. Gross mortgage lending in Q1 2018 was up 3.4% from Q1 2017

RICS: Stock edged up in March, however, remains close to record lows. New instructions declined for the 25th month, as did demand with new buyer enquiries falling for the 12th month.

Halifax Research: The Housing Market Confidence Tracker shows optimism remains at a 5 year low, echoing subdued price performance and activity since the end of 2017.  This is set against a positive outlook for a majority of consumers who believe prices will rise over the next 12 months.

Rightmove House Price Index

National

  • Average asking price of new-to-the-market property has hit a new record of £305,732 (+0.3%) higher than the previous record set in July 2017).

  • March was the busiest month ever on Rightmove with 142 million+ visits, indicating robust interest, however, a subdued annual price rise of 1.6% shows buyers are price sensitive.

  • Achieved selling prices are 96.7% of final asking price.  Based on a new seller asking price of £305,732, this would mean an average difference of over £10,000 (3.3%).  This is up from 2.8% over the past 2 years, evidence of a more challenging market in some locations.

London

  • Average difference between final asking price and achieved selling price was 4.4% over Q1 2018, a difference of £27,000 against an average asking price of £628,039.  

    • This gap is up from 1.1% in Q1 2014.  The cash value of this gap has grown from just over £6,000, although, average asking prices have increased by some £66,000.

  • London was 1 of only 2 regions recording a price drop nationally.

  • 3 cheaper outer boroughs (Greenwich, Waltham Forest and Hillingdon) see record highs.

Rightmove Asking Price Data for London

Category

Average Asking Price

(April 2018)

Monthly Change

Annual Change

By Travel Zone

Zone 1

£1,296,428

-6.4%

-4.3%

Zone 2

£750,636

0.4%

-1.7%

Zone 3

£610,074

0.2%

-1.5%

Zone 4

£491,958

1.1%

0.2%

Zone 5

£481,230

-0.2%

-0.9%

Zone 6

£498,077

+0.2%

-0.5%

By Area

Greater London

£628,039

-0.6%

-0.6%

Inner London

£767,941

-1.6%

-0.8%

Outer London

£528,527

0.6%

-0.3%

By Market Sector

First-Time Buyers

£487,459

-0.9%

-2.1%

Second - Steppers

£694,116

-0.5%

-1.6%

Top of the Ladder

£1,443,396

-0.7%

2.9%

National Average for Comparison

National Average

£305,732

0.4%

1.6%

By London Borough (3 month rolling average)

Bexley

£409,236

-0.2%

2.0%

Barking & Dagenham

£315,858

0.4%

2.0%

Barnet

£661, 456

0.0%

1.8%

Hounslow

£559,981

0.0%

1.7%

Greenwich

£455,404

0.9%

1.4%

Waltham Forest

£491,468

1.4%

0.8%

Redbridge

£455,279

0.3%

0.7%

Havering

£408,643

-0.2%

0.6%

Bromley

£540,364

0.5%

0.3%

Hillingdon

£497,865

0.4%

0.2%

Croydon

£444,477

0.2%

0.1%

Enfield

£463,208

1.5%

0.0%

Hackney

£663,456

-0.1%

0.0%

Camden

£1,004,381

0.5%

-0.2%

Sutton

£470,055

0.4%

-0.6%

Islington

£780,608

1.6%

-0.8%

Merton

£656,808

0.1%

-1.0%

Lewisham

£476,782

1.1%

-1.2%

Westminster

£1,461,058

-0.2%

-1.2%

Wandsworth

£817,928

0.3%

-1.3%

Newham

£411,668

-0.5%

-1.8%

Hammersmith & Fulham

£943,120

-0.7%

-2.0%

Tower Hamlets

£591,309

-0.8%

-2.0%

Brent

£589,239

0.8%

-2.0%

Kensington & Chelsea

£1,609,245

-1.4%

-2.1%

Kingston Upon Thames

£630,714

-0.3%

-2.1%

Ealing

£563,288

0.2%

-2.5%

Richmond Upon Thames

£851,058

1.9%

-2.9%

Haringey

£619,637

0.1%

-3.4%

Lambeth

£649,452

0.7%

-4.3%

Harrow

£561,349

0.5%

-4.4%

Southwark

£635,944

-1.3%

-4.4%

Miles Shipside,  Director and Housing Market Analyst, Rightmove

National

“Home buyers are seeing average asking prices at their highest ever level with upwards price pressure getting stronger the further away from London.  However, higher prices stretch buyers’ affordability.

Lack of choice is nudging prices up to test the market ceiling.  It’s not rampant price inflation and buyers can easily spot speculative prices and ignore property that is out of line with others nearby.”

David Plumtree, Estate Agency Chief Executive, Connells Group:

“Following a brisk start to the year with applicant registrations in January exceeding January 2017, buyer sentiment weakened as Q1 progressed.  Adverse weather may have contributed to this, but it is clear market conditions have somewhat softened due in part to affordability concerns. We expect market conditions to show improvement and anticipate a stronger Spring period.  It remains a sellers’ market with an imbalance between buyer demand and stock - lack of stock continues to be an issue for our branches.”

London

“London is a myriad of local markets and influences, but the overall picture is a market still adjusting.  Demand remains, but more cautious buyers are waiting for the right property at the right price.

As a buyer, doing your research before you offer is essential, as the market is often hyper-local.  As a seller, if your property is initially overpriced, you may find it much harder to achieve a sale at any price.

Cheaper boroughs seem to be where buyers are still active.  They offer more value or better affordability and tend to fare better, especially as they did not get as overheated in the first place.”

Lucy Pendleton, Co-Founder Director, James Pendleton:

“We are always telling vendors to be realistic and price their property keenly to fuel interest.  However, many don’t, and this is a favourite way for vendors to shoot themselves in the foot. The difference between asking and sold price proves just how many houses have been priced badly recently and that always happens when we see a shift from a sellers’ to a buyers’ market in London.  Many sellers could have improved the amount paid for their homes if they had encouraged more viewings on day one.”

RICS -  UK Residential Market Survey

House Prices

  • National RICS Price balance fell to -8% in April, the most negative since November 2012.

  • The national reading is heavily weighed down by feedback from London, where 65% more respondents saw prices fall over the month rather than rise (weakest since February 2009).  

  • Falling prices were also still being reported in the South East.

Looking Ahead

  • The near-term outlook for prices remains broadly flat.  Nearly all areas of the UK show positive 12 month price expectations, however, these remain downbeat in London with 20% more respondents predicting a decline over the year to come.

Sales

  • New instructions continued to decline, albeit the least negative reading since September 2017.  Consequently, average stock levels on agents’ books were essentially unmoved at 42.2 and still within a whisker of the all-time low set in February 2018.

New Buyer Enquiries

  • New buyer enquiries were unchanged during April after 4 months of fairly sharp decline. It has now been 13 months since the reading was last positive.

  • Agreed sales also held steady, having fallen over the last few months.  Interestingly, London was 1 of 4 areas with an increase in sales (the first positive reading in over 12 months).

Renting

  • Tenant demand in the 3 months to April was stagnant.  Part of the softness may be down to the dearth of new landlord instructions, remaining negative for an 8th successive quarter.  

  • Growth expectations moderated on a 3 and 12 month view due to subdued momentum.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, RICS

“The market typically tends to see a pick-up at around this time of the year and the feedback to the survey seems to be capturing this tone.  However, the underlying trend in transactions still remains broadly flat.

Meanwhile, the impact of recent tax changes appears increasingly visible in letting results with new instructions falling again and at a faster pace than previously. It is therefore imperative that Build to Rent takes on a greater role to ensure private renters have sufficient choice over coming years.”

UK Finance Press Release

UK Data for March 2018

Type of Borrower

Value of Loans

Monthly Change

Annual Change

Number of Loans

Monthly Change

Annual Change

First time buyers*

£5.1bn

+24.4%

+2.0%

31,200

+23.3%

-1.9%

Home movers**

£6.1bn

+15.1%

-4.7%

28,400

+13.1%

-7.8%

BTL house purchasers

£0.8bn

+14.3%

-20.0%

5,500

+5.8%

-19.1%

Homeowner remortgage

£5.6bn

-8.2%

-9.7%

32,400

-9.25%

-12.0%

BTL remortgage

£2.0bn

-9.1%

Nil

12,600

-10.6%

+0.8%

*The average first-time buyer is 30 and has a gross household income of £42,000.

**The average homemover is 39 and has a gross household income of £56,000.

Jackie Bennett, Director of Mortgages, UK Finance

“Remortgaging levels softened in March, after a busier than usual start to the year saw customers locking into attractive deals ahead of a potential interest rate rise.

Flat growth in lending to FTBs, reflected in recent Bank of England figures, show a fall in approvals.

The BTL market remains subdued, as recent tax and regulatory changes continue to impact demand.”

Mortgage arrears at record low in Q1 2018

Homeowner mortgages

  • 78,800 in arrears of >2.5% of the outstanding balance in Q1 2018, -8% on Q1 2017 and the lowest since records began in 1994.

  • 24,100 with more significant arrears (> 10% of the outstanding balance), -3% on Q1 2017.

  • 1,200 were taken into possession in Q1 2018, unchanged from Q1 2017.

BTL mortgages

  • 4,500 in arrears of >2.5% of the outstanding balance in Q1 2018, -6% on Q1 2017.

  • 1,100 with more significant arrears (>10% of the outstanding balance).

Jackie Bennett, Director of Mortgages, UK Finance

“The number of mortgages in arrears  and possessions is at its lowest level since records began, helped by low interest rates and lenders supporting borrowers through periods of temporary financial difficulty.

Recent change to Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) from a benefit to a loan, as well as pressure on households from a future base rate rise, risk causing a reversal of this trend as the year goes on.

As ever, customers should not hesitate to contact their lender if they anticipate any payment problems and want to discuss what options are available.  Repossession is always a last resort.”

BBC: Defusing mortgage timebomb 'like Space Invaders'

UK Finance:  Many thousands of households have no strategy for paying off the lump sum at the end of an interest-only mortgage term, so risk losing their homes.

Lenders have been contacting these people urging them to work out how to save up for this final bill.  Over time this becomes more difficult - like Space Invaders. Banks need to improve their targeting in order to engage with those reluctant to discuss how they will pay off their mortgage, but it is "a challenge" getting some to engage.

1.7 million homeowners have ongoing interest-only mortgages, nearly half the number seen in 2012.  Total value of the interest-only mortgage book was £250bn, down 37% in the same period.

A peak of final bills came in the past year, for those who took out policies in the 1990s-2000s, however, less affluent, middle-aged homeowners who often converted to interest-only deals in 2003-09 (concentrated in the South West, East and North West, as well as London and the West Midlands) will see their final repayment demand come in 2027-2028.

Savills - UK Housing Market Update

  • The 0.2% price rise in April is in line with average monthly growth over the past 2 years, and a forecast for UK house price growth of 1.0% in 2018.

  • Transaction levels appear stable across most regions and are higher than 3 years ago.

  • Activity and price growth remain weakest in the south and particularly in London, with 22% fewer transactions over the last year compared to the same period 3 years ago.

  • Prices have continued to fall in London, with Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea seeing the largest annual falls of 4.2% and 2.9% respectively.

  • GfK consumer confidence survey: 28th consecutive month of negative outlook on personal finances in April, following disappointing Q1 2018 GDP growth of 0.1%.  

  • Oxford Economics: Revised annual GDP growth estimate down from 1.7% to 1.5%.  These poor results led the Bank of England not to make the anticipated base rate hike in May, leaving it at 0.5%, with commentators now expecting the next rise in August.

  • ONS: The rental market showed quarterly growth slowed marginally to 0.2% Q1 2018 from 0.4% Q1 2017 nationally.  Annual growth in London was 0.1% in March.

Knight Frank - UK Residential Market Update

  • Average UK house prices rose by 0.2% in April, taking the annual change to 2.6% while rents rose 1.1% over the year.

  • There are signs that pricing is also stabilising in central London.  

  • In Q1 2018, 45,500 FTBs claimed stamp duty relief introduced on properties up to £500,000 in November 2017, bringing the total benefitting to 69,000.  However, SDLT revenues remain buoyant at £9.3 billion receipts over the year (double 5 years ago).

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG): 158,883 buyers have used the HTB Equity Loan to purchase a new home since scheme introduction in 2013.

Knight Frank - Prime Central London (PCL) Residential Market Update

Sales

  • Transactions in the year to March 2018 rose 6% compared to the previous 12-months.

  • The biggest increase in sales volumes in the year to March 2018 was £5 million to £10 million, suggesting stamp duty has become more absorbed at this price point.

  • More offices in prime outer London reported an annual price decline than a price rise in March.  Buyer caution around stamp duty remains a factor, as does political uncertainty.

  • Average number of days a property was on the market up 22% in the year to March 2018 compared to the previous year, suggesting reluctance of buyers to meet asking prices.

  • Quarterly revenue from the 3% SDLT surcharge fell 25% to £364 million in Q1 2018.

  • Price changes:

    • PCL: Annual -1.2% / Quarterly -2.4% / Monthly -0.3%.

    • Prime Outer: Annual -3.1% / Quarterly -2.4% / Monthly -0.3%.

Rentals

  • While demand remains robust, levels of new supply have declined as more certainty returns to the sales market and more landlords explore a sale due to recent tax changes.

  • Easing supply and robust demand has put upwards pressure on rental values.  The last time positive growth was recorded in January 2016.

  • New listings in the year to March 2018 were 6% higher than the previous 12 months.

  • Rental properties coming to the market and the total stock has declined across Greater London as some landlords explore a sale following a series of recent tax changes.

  • Price changes:

    • PCL: Annual -0.8% / Quarterly -0.2%

    • Prime Outer: Annual -3.3% / Quarterly -0.06%

Knight Frank - UK Residential Market Forecast

2018-2022 Forecasts - May 2018

 

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

2018-2022

Mainstream residential sales markets

UK

1.0%

2.0%

3.0%

3.5%

4.0%

14.2%

London

-0.5%

2.5%

3.0%

3.5%

4.0%

13.1%

South East

0.0%

2.0%

3.0%

4.0%

4.5%

14.2%

Prime residential sales markets

PCL East

0.5%

1.5%

2.5%

3.0%

5.0%

13.1%

PCL West

0.5%

1.5%

3.5%

3.0%

3.5%

12.6%

Prime Outer London

0.0%

1.0%

3.0%

3.5%

4.5%

12.5%

Prime England & Wales

1.5%

2.0%

2.0%

2.0%

2.0%

9.9%

Residential rental markets

UK

2.5%

2.5%

2.5%

3.0%

3.0%

14.0%

London

1.5%

2.0%

2.5%

3.0%

3.5%

13.0%

PCL

0.5%

1.5%

2.5%

3.0%

3.0%

11.0%

Prime Outer London

-1.0%

1.0%

2.0%

2.5%

3.0%

8.0%

NAEA - Housing Report - March 2018

Prices

  • 86% properties sold under asking price in March, the highest since records began in 2013.

  • This is +12% from February when 74% of sellers accepted offers under asking.

  • 10% sold for the original asking price in March, the lowest since records began.

Demand

  • House-hunters on agents’ books fell marginally in March – from 309 to 308 per branch.

  • Annually, demand is down 22% from 397 per branch in March 2017 and 417 in 2016.

Supply

  • Stock per branch up from 35 in February to 40 in March (highest since October 2017).

Activity

  • FTB sales fell by 3% to 26% in March (also down from 27% in January).

  • Agreed sales stayed the same in March – with an average of 8 recorded per branch.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA

“Earlier this month, Zoopla research showed that on average, houses are being sold for almost £25,000 under asking.  A record number of properties sold for under asking in March, indicating buyers have shifted into the power seat. However, although demand has cooled off over the last few months, it’s likely to increase again as those holding off move to take advantage of lower prices.  The only long term solution is more homes to balance the issue of supply and demand.”

In other news…

A Tall Order

A family has been told to tear down their new home or spend £200,000 on a new roof after it was found to be 30 inches (76cm) too tall.

The family of 7 moved into the property 2 months ago, however, after 31 objections and complaints from neighbours, Stoke-on-Trent council turned down 2 retrospective planning applications for the £500,000 house due to the height and dormer windows.

The family's representative said demolition would be "excessive" and "draconian", leaving the planning committee divided.  Some thought although it was "wrong" that the house had been built too tall, to knock it down would be "a little over the top".  However, others said it would "set a precedent" for developers to "build what they like" and ask permission later.

The family said they had nowhere else to go, and no funds for a new roof and have been given 3 months to allow for talks to continue.

Third of British homeowners priced out of their own property

More than ⅓ UK homeowners wouldn’t be able to afford their home if it were listed on the property market at today’s value, following a survey of 3,000 property owners by MyJobQuote.  On average, this was £50,000 over the original purchase price.

Almost ½ wouldn’t now buy the same property again if money wasn’t a factor.  1 in 10 said they wouldn’t buy their home again today because they wouldn’t want to same mortgage product, including the length and rate of the loan, 1 in 4 said they would have made different decisions in hindsight because they had spent more money than they expected on their home and 1 in 5 said they would have picked “a more desirable neighbourhood”.

Indecisive buyers 'scupper house sales' costing sellers over £400m a year

Indecisive buyers are a common cause of property sales falling through before completion according to a survey by IMMO and YouGov for the Homeowners' Alliance.

40% of owners said buyers had changed their minds or found another home, equivalent to 300,000 transactions collapsing each year.

This was found to cost 51% of affected sellers an average of over £2,700 in the UK, while 1 in 10 incurred more than £5,000, reflecting a total loss to sellers of over £400m annually.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive, The Homeowners' Alliance:

"We often hear about would-be buyers losing their dream homes [due to] sellers accepting higher offers but less is said about sellers forking out thousands in wasted fees only for buyers to change their mind."

65% of participants back non-refundable deposits to commit both sides earlier in the process.

'Pension mountain' needed by older tenants

Research by pension provider Royal London suggests tenants who will still be renting when they retire will need a "pension mountain" to avoid falling living standards.

Those whose combined pension income is around ⅔ of their gross wages before they retire should not see a major change standard of living when they stop earning, "as a broad rule of thumb".

An average earner needs a retirement pot of £260,000 to avoid a fall in living standards.  Low interest rates mean this is much higher than in 2002, but less than a 2017 peak of £290,000.

This assumes people will stop work at 65, use their pension pot to buy an annuity, have a full state pension to top up savings, and will have paid off their mortgage.  However, the figure rises sharply to £445,000 for non-homeowners who have to pay rent to a private landlord during retirement.

Housebuilders’ costs respond to increased workload

Housebuilders’ costs rose 4% in the year to Q4 2017 according to the BCIS Private Housing Construction Price Index (PHCPI).

Housing starts in Q3 2017 were up 44% on Q3 2012.  Housebuilders’ costs started to pick up at around the same time and in Q4 2017 were 27% higher than in 2012.

75% of contributors reported increases in costs.  30% indicated labour costs, 30% reported materials costs and 40% cited increases in both labour and materials.  Specific increases included bricklayers, timber and related insulation for timber framed houses, groundworks and scaffolders.

There were several mentions of a general skills shortage but one contractor commented labour costs are stagnant.

We hope you find this market insight informative, however, should you have any queries or recommendations on this or any of our other articles, please contact us

Sources & Further Reading

Article

Source

Release Date

Link

Halifax House Price Index

Halifax

08/05/2018

Find out more

Nationwide House Price Index

Nationwide

April 2018

Find out more

Rightmove - House Price Index

Rightmove

April 2018

Find out more/   

HMLR - House Price Index

(February 2017)

HMLR

18/04/2018

Find out more

RICS UK Residential Market Survey - April 2018

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

10/05/2018

Find out more  

Remortgaging market softens in March after busy start to year

UK Finance

16/05/ 2018

Find out more

Mortgage arrears at record low in Q1 2018

UK Finance

10/05/2018

Find out more

Prime Central London Sales Index - April 2018

Knight Frank

April 2018

Find out more

Prime Central London Rental Index - April 2018

Knight Frank

April 2018

Find out more

UK Residential Market Update - April 2018

Knight Frank

April 2018

Find out more

UK Housing Market Forecast - May 2018

Knight Frank

May 2018

Find out more

Housing Market update - May 2018

Savills

11/05/2018

Find out more

Housebuilders’ costs respond to increased workload

RICS

(BCIS)

05/04/2018

Find out more

Defusing mortgage timebomb 'like Space Invaders'

BBC -

Business

Kevin Peachey

17/05/2018

Find out more

'Pension mountain' needed by older tenants

BBC -

Business

16/05/2018

Find out more

Indecisive buyers 'scupper house sales'

BBC -

Business

Kevin Peachey

14/05/2018

Find out more

Stoke-on-Trent house '30in too tall' risks demolition

BBC -

England

10/05/2018

Find out more

Teachers and police officers are getting priced out of London property market

Evening Standard -

 Jonathan Prynn

17/05/2018

Find out more

Broken property transactions cost sellers more than £400m a year

City A.M. -

Harry Banks

14/05/2018

Find out more

Third of British homeowners priced out of their own property

Independent -

Kate Hughes

10/05/2018

Find out more

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About the author

Steven Goovaerts avatar

Steven Goovaerts

Steven is a Graduate Surveyor and versatile member of the team, currently undertaking an MSc in Real Estate Management at the University of the West of England and enrolled on the Assessment of Professional Competence.

Read more about Steven Goovaerts

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