The most recent monthly report from Rightmove has revealed that the number of properties for sale has dropped by 15% in November; the fastest rate since 2009. This is being blamed on the uncertainty created in the market by next month’s general election.
In addition, average asking prices have been declining since September, falling by £3,900 in November, the equivalent of a 1% decline on the previous month.
Miles Shipside, a Rightmove director, is quoted as saying “Elections normally dampen activity as uncertainty causes a degree of hesitation, but this one is being called to try to break the deadlock. A more certain outlook, whatever it may be, would be a welcome change for those who are contemplating moving.”
There have also been rumours of Stamp Duty Land Tax reforms following the election by whoever wins, which could also explain the larger than usual downward price drift in the run-up to Christmas this year. There is concern though that if the reluctance to sell continues into next year’s spring selling season, it would have knock-on effects on the housing market throughout 2020.
In contrast to the drop in the number of properties being put up for sale, the report showed that the number of sales had only declined by 0.1% in November compared to the same time in 2018. The hesitancy therefore appears to be far more on the part of sellers rather than buyers. If this trend continues though, it could become a seller’s market with demand outstripping supply.
Whilst analysts have identified Brexit as having an effect on the residential property market, with a spike in sales before each of the previous Brexit deadlines, Glynis Frew, the chief executive of Hunters estate agency, said “The family market’s relatively strong performance illustrates that the process of moving house is one that transcends Brexit. People get married, have children and secure new jobs all the time.”