Property Market Defies Doomsayers as Buyer and Seller Confidence Remains Strong

Despite the ongoing uncertainties in the UK property market, the latest OnTheMarket Property Sentiment Index reveals that both buyers and sellers continue to display remarkable confidence. The data indicates that buyer sentiment remains consistent, with 71% of prospective buyers expressing confidence in purchasing a property within the next three months in November, just slightly down from 72% in October.

In contrast, seller confidence experienced a modest decline month-on-month, with 56% of UK sellers believing they would successfully sell their properties within the next three months in November, compared to 58% in October. This drop, however, is noteworthy considering the seasonal factors that typically affect the market during this time of year.

Jason Tebb, CEO of OnTheMarket, commented on these findings, saying, “More than half of vendors believe they will sell within three months, even though this includes the festive period and January, which often gets off to a slow start.”

Regional variations also played a role in these confidence levels. Seller confidence in Scotland decreased by six percentage points, while the East Midlands witnessed a seven percentage-point increase, highlighting the diversity of local property markets, each susceptible to different influences.

Tebb further highlighted that in November, 33% of properties were sold subject to contract within 30 days of being listed for sale, a slight decrease from 36% in October. This reduction suggests an increase in available housing stock, providing prospective buyers with more options and encouraging sellers to set realistic prices.

Mortgage concerns were voiced by some respondents, with 8% expressing worry or slight concern about securing a mortgage in November, compared to 4% in October. This concern could be attributed to the month-on-month uptick in property prices reported by Nationwide and Halifax, contradicting earlier forecasts of a market downturn.

Tebb noted, “Those waiting for a 10% drop in prices may now be realising that as this hasn’t materialised, they will have to take on a bigger mortgage than they originally planned, and don’t relish doing so in a high-rate environment.” Nevertheless, he also highlighted positive developments in the mortgage sector, with falling swap rates leading to lower fixed-rate mortgage offerings, some available at less than 4.5% for two- and five-year terms.

In conclusion, despite the ever-changing economic landscape, the confidence levels among both buyers and sellers in the UK property market remain surprisingly resilient. Those who are determined to proceed with property transactions are doing so, and even minor fluctuations in sentiment are not deterring a robust cohort of buyers and sellers. The key remains pricing properties attractively to attract serious buyers in a competitive market.