The property market is beginning to slow down as new buyer enquiries, viewings and instructions simmer down from the boiling rages seen during the recent boom, two separate surveys of estate agent branches published today reveal.
Both Andrews and RICS say that while the market remains strong, agents have begun to report a slowdown.
Nationally a net balance of +27% of surveyors told RICS they experienced an increase in new buyer enquiries during November, down from the +42% from October.
RICS says agreed sales continue to feed estate agent pipelines particularly in Wales and Northern Ireland, but that most other market indicators show growth is ‘losing a bit of steam and slowing’.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, says: “It is clear from responses to the latest survey that there is considerable concern about the prospect of a sharp slowdown in transaction activity following the end of the first quarter of the coming year.
But David Westgate (pictured), Group Chief Executive of Andrews, says that although the market did slow during the most recent lockdown, his branches have seen a strong rebound in recent days after England switched form a blanket lockdown to the tiered system.
“While December is traditionally a quieter month for the property market, we’re expecting activity to be buoyant right up until Christmas,” he says.
“Buyers recognise they need to make offers and start the conveyancing process soon, or they might struggle to complete before the stamp duty holiday comes to an end in March.”
Nevertheless, Andrews says industry data shows instructions were down 30% and viewings fell 18% last month, white its own business saw instruction fall from 454 in October to 317 in November.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: ‘On the ground, it seems that housing market activity has hit the buffers in the past few weeks, borne out by the findings in the RICS survey. However, we see this more as a temporary seasonal lull rather than the start of any more serious correction.”