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Housing Market Takes a ‘Breather’ Following SDLT Holiday

As the government’s stamp duty holiday is tapered out, property agents report another fall in new homes being listed on the market with sales also heading in the same direction in August, according to the latest findings of the RICS UK Residential Market Survey.

New buyer enquiries fell for a second month in a row, with a net balance of -14% of respondents saying they had seen even fewer house hunters (following a -9% reading in July). Agreed sales also declined at the same time – with a net balance of -18% reporting a fall.

Looking forward, respondents were more optimistic about the market’s prospects, with sales over the next three months expected to stabilise (net balance of +4%) before returning to modest growth (+7% net balance) when looking over the next year. On a regional level, the responses show sales expectations for the year ahead are most positive across London, Northern Ireland and the South East of England.

New listings were down again with a net balance of -37% reporting yet another fall – with eight of the last nine months seeing new listings in negative territory. It’s not much surprise that stock levels on agent’s books have therefore dropped from an average of 42 homes per branch at the start of 2021, to stand at 38 in August, getting close to near record lows.

As a result of demand outpacing supply, respondents continued to report strong rates of house price inflation – with a net balance of +73% saying they’d seen prices increase since the previous month’s survey. Looking to the year ahead, a net balance of +66% said they don’t expect prices to continue rising at a national level, the same reading reported in July.

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