Local data and property market insights

Kate Faulkner says the big indices paint the bigger picture of the housing market, but local data is crucial to our understanding too.

Property value signpoasts image

This year, it’s more essential than ever that we have a good understanding of the reality of what’s happening in the property market. The reality is, agents, legal companies and surveyors – and other services – will actually have access to better data than me, so anyone who can let me know what’s happening in your area, I’d be delighted to hear from you!

What sort of data is useful? Although the mainstream media focus on prices, what’s more important just now is what’s happening to transactions as these tend to be the earlier indicator of what happens to prices.

What does the latest data tell us about the property market in 2023?

According to Christopher Watkin/TwentyCi, taking data from Week 1 of 2023, there were 9,231 sales agreed versus 9,161 in week 1 of 2022, which although we can’t say it’s a major success, it isn’t actually a fall, which can be considered as a bonus!

However, as usual there is likely to be a difference at a local level. Perhaps surprisingly, Chris has also shared data suggesting that lower priced properties are selling more in Jan 23 than the higher ones. The reason this could be odd is you’d expect lower priced properties to be more likely to be bought with a mortgage as opposed to outright cash, and currently, the thought process is that it’s the higher end of the market that’s likely to be less impacted this year.

To date, the figures suggest that around 47.5% of properties sold in January 2023 were under £250,000 even though the proportion listed in November/December under £250k was only 36%.

Clearly, it’s not conclusive that the market is doing OK based on just one week or two, but now that we have a ‘baseline’ to work from, this is what will help us to understand the trends each month.

An example of data from a legal company

Although this doesn’t tell us what is happening this year, this data from one of my local legal companies – Bird and Co – again gives a great base line to work from versus 2022.

You can see the full data here: https://www.birdandco.co.uk/site/blog/ bird-blog/home-buying-statistics-2022 but in summary, they breakdown the types of buyers from an enquiry/client perspective which shows: 68% of their client base were FTBs with the rest buying a second property, down from 71% in 2021.

Most (76%) were looking to buy a property for their main residence versus 42% in 2021, seeing a decrease in those buying holiday lets, HMOs and properties to let. Of Bird & Co’s conveyancing clients in 2022, 17% were buying a buy-to-let (only 1% buying a holiday letting and 1% buying an HMO). In 2021, the percentage of buy-to-let buyers was 14% showing that the property market is still a tantalising business opportunity for many.

Frequency of data

Any information you can secure which gives local people an insight into their market and can be compared on an annual or quarterly basis is great. I tend to find monthly data can be quite erratic, but it doesn’t stop you from producing it each month and then looking at it at on a quarterly or annual basis. This info is also often useful for your local newspaper, radio station and/or digital news so can secure great PR and really help set you aside from the competition, and we all know it’s going be a tougher year to secure business in 2023.


Kate Faulkner - OBE - imageOur regular columnist has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List. Kate has been recognised for her work with the Home Buying and Selling Group and The Lettings Council and ‘services to the property industry’ and here at The Neg we’d like to express congratulations for the well-deserved honour. Kate says, “I feel a bit like I’ve been given the award for ‘top goal scorer’ – which you only get thanks to everyone that has supported you – and in the HBSG’s case, that’s an awful lot of very committed people that have worked tirelessly over the years together.”

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