46% rise in new instructions in March

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, comments on today’s HMRC property transaction results:

“Latest data from HMRC indicates that transaction volumes in April are slightly down on the month previous, 10.5% lower than March 2022. This also follows our own trend lines, with Jackson-Stops branch data noting a Spring bounce in March with not just an increase in residential sale transactions, but a 46% rise in new instructions alongside a 28% rise in new applicants looking to buy. This was the first-time in 18 months that data from across the Jackson-Stops network showed the proportional gain of new buyers to the market was lower than supply. After a remarkably long cycle of eye-watering house price growth, we may be at long last seeing the scales of supply and demand become more balanced. The loosening up of the housing market is good news to sellers who were previously holding back in fear of not finding a suitable onward purchase. A boost in supply should mark the end of this period of stalemate.

“Although HMRC reports that transaction numbers in April this year are far from the highs we saw in 2021, last year by all accounts deviated from any seasonal norms as buyers and sellers made up for lost time during the multiple lockdowns throughout 2020 where transactions dropped by over 55%.

“Looking ahead, I think for the rest of the year we will see market activity start to level out relative to the frenetic pace seen in the months previous. Certainly, the first quarter of 2022 was the peak of post-pandemic related enthusiasm. First-time buyers at the bottom rung of the property ladder will feel the pinch of house price growth and inflation more than any other buyer type, as we watch mortgage payments outpace rents. This will start to filter up from the bottom, but not for some time yet. Downsizers and cash buyers remain fairly immune from any volatility that may be forecast, with many choosing to move house now to achieve the best possible price for their home. The Jackson-Stops network is predicting a rise in new instructions with multiple bids and record prices still common place, ruled by the scale of yet unsatisfied demand. As the market moves, sellers are choosing to move with it.”