The volume of new property listings in the UK declined by 13.2 per cent in August, according to a new Property Supply Index by Housesimple. Their survey found that 51,809 new properties were listed last month, across 100 major UK towns and cities.
The decline was not completely unexpected, as activity has often fallen in the summer months, before accelerating again after the summer holidays come to an end, Housesimple revealed.
Activity was lower across all regions, but varied, with the capital seeing more extreme swings compared to the rest of the UK, likely due to the greater volume of people leaving the city to go on holiday.
Off on holidays
London showed sharp declines in new listings activity. The number of new listings in the capital dropped by 19.9 per cent between July and August, which was the largest fall in any major town or city. As a result, the national figure was weighed down.
Outside the capital, declines in activity were less severe. Scotland saw the mildest decline of any region, month-on-month, with new listings declining by 2.1 per cent. In comparison, new listings in Wales fell by 6.3 per cent.
Excluding London, the rest of the UK saw an overall new property listings activity decline of 8.7 per cent in August. The summertime decline in new listings followed on from a relatively solid first half of the year. As recently as June, Housesimple reported strong demand for new homes, boosted by good weather and calmer market conditions.
Whether this more upbeat trend resumes in the autumn greatly depends on market sentiment once the holiday season ends, ahead of the UK’s expected departure from the EU, in October.
A summer blip
Sam Mitchell, CEO at Housesimple, stressed the importance of the recorded summer slowdown being a seasonal occurrence. Mr Mitchell claimed that August is traditionally a quieter month, as homeowners typically stay out of the market, and enjoy their holidays.
Mr Mitchell explained that activity tended to spike by the end of August, adding that 30th August was historically the busiest day of the year for moving house. Looking ahead, Mr Mitchell added that a rebound in activity was often expected for September each year.
Housesimple expected an increase in listings of 15 to 20 per cent between August and September, as homeowners return from the beach and back into the markets, to finalise the sales of their homes.
Mr Mitchell said: “On the other hand, Brexit uncertainty may impact new listings, while other vendors may look to get their properties over the line before the deadline on 31st October.”
Despite the potential for Brexit-related anomalies in the coming months, Mr Mitchell concluded: “Life does not wait for politics and neither should sellers.”