The outlook for the UK housing market has improved over the past few weeks with the decisive nature of the general election result and the resulting clarity on the UK’s Brexit withdrawal at the end of this month providing a much-needed boost, according to NAEA Propertymark.
The professional body for estate agents reports that confidence has returned to the housing market, with both the number of prospective buyers and the number of sales agreed rising in December.
The number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch in December reached 313, which is up from 304 in the corresponding month a year earlier, thanks in part to an increase in investor confidence.
Encouragingly, the number of sales made to first-time buyers increased slightly last month to 29%, from 28% in November, and this is an increase of five percentage points from December 2018 when the number of sales made to the group stood at 24%.
The number of properties available per member branch increased from 39 in November to 41 in December, which is the highest level since August 2019.
But housing supply remains down on an annual basis, dropping slightly from 42 in December 2018.
Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark, said: “After a period of suppressed market activity due to Brexit and political uncertainty, the clear outcome of the General Election in December has injected some much-needed confidence into the market.
“Despite it typically being a quieter time of year seasonally, our figures have shown positive trends with both demand and the number of sales being high in comparison to previous years, as both buyers and sellers no longer hold off on their plans. This is an encouraging close to the year and we hope to see more of this stability in 2020.”