The highly regarded Hometrack index on the UK housing market has been released, showing a second consecutive monthly rise in house prices, and a lot of other seemingly positive data. Seemingly, because according to Hometrack's interpretation of the data, not only does it show that the market is once again slowing after the high caused by the rush to beat the deadline for the stamp duty holiday, but that the market could be heading for price falls in the not too distant future. That is of course, with the exception of London.
According to the index house prices rose 0.1% on the month in April, down from the previous month's 0.2% increase. But it is in the other data that we get a picture of the current state of the market, and especially when we look back to January.
Particularly insightful is the number of new buyers registering vs the number of new properties being listed, and the percentage of postcodes with price increases vs those price decreases. According to the data the number of new buyers registering increased by 2.1% in April, but the volume of new listings increased 4.8%. We can see the stamp duty rush in this data. In December new buyers fell 6.3% while listings fell 3.6%, and in January the figures worsen to -10.5 and -5.4 respectively, but then in January we see a remarkable turnaround with an 18% growth in new buyers and a 15% growth in supply. Last month new buyers increased by 4.4% while property listings increased by 3.6%. Hometrack says:
"In the last three months supply has grown by almost 19%. This follows a similar pattern to previous years when an improvement in demand and sales led to more properties coming to the market. If April's slowdown in demand and rising supply continues over the coming months, we will begin to see an impact on price changes."
Meanwhile the percentage of postcodes seeing an increase in price increased from 3.4% in January to 7.7% in February, then up to 14.7% in March, before falling back to 13.7% in April. The percentage of postcode districts seeing a decrease in price falls from 33% - 19% between December and January, where is stays in February before falling to 9.2% in March, but then it also goes backwards in April, with a rise to 12.4% says the index.
- Wednesday 02 May 2012