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Supply up in May as sellers prepared for summer slowdown

The proportion of homeowners selling up increased in May, as sellers tried to secure offers before the housing market’s typical summer slowdown. That’s according to NAEA Propertymark’s May Housing Report.

The findings showed that the supply of properties available to buy rose by 12% in May, with sellers anticipating a slowing of activity in the summer and racing to confirm concrete offers. Per branch there were 37 homes available, compared to 33 in April.

The market is usually quieter in the summer months as people head abroad for sun, sea and sand. Supply, therefore, tends to soar in May – and this is backed up by the fact that the number of new homes available to buy has increased every May since 2015.

Still, though, the number of sellers marketing their properties is down from 40 in May last year and much more dramatically down on a decade ago. When comparing now to ten years ago, the supply of homes is down 62% from 97 in May 2008.

The demand for housing from prospective buyers also increased, up from 337 in April to 351 in May. This came as house hunters set out to make sure their offers were accepted before going away on their summer holidays. On a year-on-year basis, there’s been little movement (with 350 house hunters registered per branch in May 2017), but a two-year comparison shows that demand has risen significantly.

In May 2016, just before the EU referendum, there were 304 buyers registered per branch, which means demand has seen a 15% increase over the last two years. 

The number of sales agreed, meanwhile, stood at eight per branch for the fourth month running, while for the second month in a row 24% of these were made to first-time buyers. The number of sales is down year on year, from 10 per branch in May 2017, while the percentage of those made to first-time buyers is also down from 26% last year. 

“We see this every year,” Mark Hayward, NAEA Propertymark chief executive, said. “House hunters desperate to get their offer accepted, and sellers on a mission to find suitable buyers, flock the market in May. They’re hoping to get everything tied up so they can enjoy their summer holidays without worrying about viewings.”

He added: “But those willing to be more flexible might do well to hold off until the market’s quieter in July and August. Not everyone heads abroad over the summer, with lots of people opting for winter sun instead, so while the market is undoubtedly quieter, competition is a little less intense, which might better suit some buyers and sellers.”

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