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Agents should stick to lettings and selling flats, suggests Nationwide research

Despite blip caused by extra taxation, private rented sector is likely to continue growing as proportion of housing market, suggests lender.

Nigel Lewis

Estate agents should focus on both the lettings sector and selling apartments, according to Nationwide, as the overall sales market continues to show few signs of revival.

The comments are published in its latest house price index covering May’s housing market.

Overall it reveals a continuing “trickle” of properties coming on to the market and subdued buyer interest.

The average house price now stands at £213,600, a 2.4% increase on the same time last year, the index shows.

“Subdued economic activity and ongoing pressure on household budgets is likely to continue to exert a modest drag on housing market activity and house price growth this year, though borrowing costs are likely to remain low,” says Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist (pictured).

“Overall, we continue to expect house prices to rise by around 1% over the course of 2018.”

But several trends picked up by Nationwide should make interesting reading for agents.

The UK’s rental sector is to continue expanding despite increased taxes for landlords helping persuade more of them to quit the market over the past year, it says, and that apartments are set to represent an ever greater proportion of the nation’s housing stock.

Nationwide’s research confirms that the private rental sector now represents a fifth of all households in the UK, a figure that has doubled over the past ten years, a growth curve that shows no sign of tailing off.

Apartments are also now becoming an ever increasing portion of the housing market.

While all types of houses and especially bungalows have reduced in number as a proportion of the overall market, flats have increased from 12.2% to over 15%, an increase that the Nationwide suggests is likely to continue as the government encourages more high density new build developments.

May 31, 2018

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