Rightmove is the UK’s largest property portal, and they have shared their insight into what 2017 might bring for the UK sales and lettings markets.
Their overall headline is that markets will remain strong, with robust demand (subject to regional variations). There is insufficient housing stock in the UK to cover demand, where there are now more households than ever seeking properties, and Rightmove see this continuing into 2017. However, affordability is going to be stretched, as austerity hits wages and low interest rates affect income.
Interestingly, Rightmove report a 4% increase in visits to their website since Boxing Day 2016, which is the day when househunters are generally tired of Christmas and hit the property searches, compared to the same period the previous year. Mobile traffic is, not surprisingly, on the rise, as people search whilst they are on the move, up by 24%.
The overall sales listings on the Rightmove portal in 2016 were about the same as the previous year. There was a good amount of stock on the market but agreed sales dropped in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote. It seems that property buyers were not particularly fazed by Brexit after the first shock, as agreed sales recovered by the end of the year and were higher at year end than in 2015.
Rightmove predicts fewer sales transactions in 2017; there will not be the equivalent boost to the market spurred by the stamp duty tax change in 2016, and although there will be no referendum shock during 2017 there will still be Brexit milestones to be navigated during the year. They also do not predict a massive surge in sale prices, and their overall prediction is a 2% rise.
They see first time buyer and second stepper demand being strong, but discretionary movers are likely to postpone sales or purchases during 2017.
The Rightmove advice for sellers matches exactly the I Am the Agent ethos. Sellers seeking a reasonably speedy sale should be careful to showcase their property in the best light possible from the moment it goes on the market. The time that it is launched on the market is when it will attract the most interest, when mailing notifications are sent out, and it so important to make the most of the initial impact. As the whole property market is now so transparent, it is easy, with just a little research, for potential purchasers to check comparable properties.
At I Am the Agent, the UK's largest online estate agent, we offer sellers free pro photos in our IATA Essential sales package. These really make a difference in showcasing the property to potential purchasers and will often be the ‘stand-out’ feature that makes searchers click through for a better look.
There was a geographical difference in level of rental stock on the market. In London, the rental stock on the market increased during the latter half of 2016, reflecting the buy to let purchases coming on to the rental market. In the rest of the country rental stock decreased in 2016. Rightmove do not predict another increase in rental stock in London in 2017.
London rents in 2017 are not expected to increase much, although there is likely to be a small percentage increase outside London.