May market snapshot

As you would no doubt expect us to say, the Bristol property market remains extremely busy, as indeed the national market too. So let's get straight to the headlines. And then look at some of the details and flirt with predictions too. 

Headlines

  • Price of property coming to market hits a fourth consecutive record of £367,501, up by 2.1% monthly (+£7,400)

  • Average asking prices have risen more than £55,000 in the past two years, compared to a £6,000 rise in the two years before the pandemic

  • Activity levels remain strong and still significantly higher than pre-pandemic, though there are signs that the frenetic market is starting to ease

  • The number of buyers contacting estate agents in the month is 31% higher than the more normal 2019 market, but down 14% year-on-year

  • Speed of market means available properties are down 16% compared to last year and down 55% compared to 2019, with new stock most desperately needed for two and three-bedroom semi-detached homes

  • Sales agreed are up 12% year to date compared to the same period in 2019, and down 17% year to date compared to 2021

Economy

UK inflation has risen to 9%, a 40-year high in the 12 months to April. The majority of the rise came from higher fuel bills as energy prices rose substantially following the removal of the energy price cap. The Bank of England now expects inflation will rise to double digits this year.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.7% between January and March, now estimated to be 2.8% in May. This represents its lowest level in nearly 3 years. At the same time, the number of job vacancies rose, outpacing unemployment levels for the first time since records began (ONS).

The base rate of interest has been raised by 0.25% from 0.75% to 1%, its highest rate since 2009 as the Bank of England tries to tackle the surging cost of living. This is the fourth consecutive rise since December.

Demand

The number of buyers contacting estate agents is 14% down on the stamp-duty-fuelled market of this time last year but is up by 31% on the more comparable market of 2019. The number of properties available to buy is 55% down on the levels seen in 2019, meaning that supply and demand look likely to remain out of kilter for at least the rest of the year. However; Zoopla say new supply coming to market is starting to rise, up 7% compared
to the five-year average. 

New buyer enquiries remained steady in April along with a stable picture for agreed sales according to the latest analysis of the RICS UK Residential Market Survey.


Mortgage approvals in March remained steady, close to 71,000 mortgages were approved, 9% higher than the 2016-2020 average (Bank of England). At 2.05% the average mortgage rate remains lower than a year ago. At £76.5 billion, the value of mortgage lending in the first quarter is 15% higher than the 2016-2020 average (Bank of England) and, with the exception of 2021, the strongest first quarter since 2008.

The number of sales agreed is up by 12% in the year to date compared to 2019 even with restricted choice, though is down 17% compared to the exceptional market of the same period last year. These numbers suggest that a lack of homes for sale rather than a lack of desire from buyers is what is dictating the pace of the market. New stock is most urgently needed in the mid-market sector of two and three-bedroom semi-detached homes, which are seeing the most competition from buyers

Predictions 

Gráinne Gilmore, head of research, Zoopla, commented: “High levels of buyer demand mean that the market is still moving quickly, but the time to sell – the time taken between listing a property and agreeing a sale – is starting to rise across most property types in most locations. We expect that this measure will continue to rise during the rest of the year as buyer demand levels start to fall, punctured by changing sentiment around the cost of living and personal finances".

Given the number of homeowners on fixed-rate mortgages, which protect them against interest rate rises in the short to medium-term, the stress tests carried out on those loans,  and the healthy employment market, we are not expecting a raft of forced sales in 2022, which is usually the trigger for price falls. 


Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Science “People may be wondering why the housing market is seemingly running in the opposite direction to the wider economy at the moment. What the data is showing us right now is that those who have the ability to do so are prioritising their home and moving, and the imbalance between supply and demand is supporting rising prices. Though demand is softening from the heady levels we saw this time last year, the number of buyers enquiring is still significantly higher than during the last ‘normal’ market of 2019, while the number of homes for them to choose from remains more constrained. We anticipate that the effects of the increased cost of living and rising interest rates will filter through to the market later in the year, and a combination of more supply of homes and people weighing up what they can afford  will help to moderate the market.” 

Prices

regional map south west england
At 9.8% the annual rate of property price growth slowed marginally in March, and month-on-month average prices continue to rise. At £278,436 the average price of a property is close to £25,000 more expensive than a year ago (ONS).

Zoopla predicts that property price growth will moderate to 3% by the end of 2022 as property price growth starts to slow. Annual price growth in the year to April was 8.4% a softening from 9% in the year to March.

Over half of all properties are selling at or above their asking price according to the latest reports released by Rightmove and the NAEA, the highest proportion ever recorded as the price of property coming to market hits a record high for the third consecutive month.

five year property asking price trend

Bristol

average property prices uk

average rent uk

Monthly rental payments are 40% higher than ten years ago, as tenants feel the full effect of rising costs. Rents are currently rising at the fastest pace that Rightmove has ever recorded.


If you would like to know about your micro-market, and what's happening in your neighbourhood then simply contact your local Ocean. We'll be happy to pop around and give you our local insight and any advice you may need.  

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