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Political uncertainty hits housing demand

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Written by: Heather Greig-Smith
27/06/2017
Only 3% of properties sold for more than the asking price in May, according to the latest figures from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA Propertymark).

In its May Housing Report, NAEA said the number of homes which sold for less than asking price rose to 77% – up five percentage points from April.

Demand fell to a six-month low, with the number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch falling 8% to 350 in May from 381 in April.

NAEA said this is unsurprising given the political uncertainty ahead of the General Election this month. It said demand from prospective buyers is still 15% higher than in May 2016, when 304 were registered per branch.

Supply has also risen, with the number of properties available to buy up by 11% to 40 per branch, and higher than the same time last year when 37 properties were available to buy per branch.

Sales agreed per branch rose from eight in April to 10 in May – the same level seen in March.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “As a rule of thumb, periods of political uncertainty impact the way buyers and sellers interact with the housing market. In May, it looks like new buyers were stalling their house search until after the election.”

“However the number of sales agreed per branch increased, meaning the political landscape hasn’t deterred all house hunters. Following the result of the general election, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts over the coming months as summer is peak house-moving season.”

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