Three-quarters of buyers and sellers confident of brisk home sales: OnTheMarket

The home selling website says 73% of active buyers in August were confident they would buy a property within three months, down slightly from 75% in July, in its latest Property Sentiment Index.

It adds that 79% of sellers were upbeat about their prospects of selling their home over the same period, slipping marginally from 80% in July.

“Despite the well-publicised considerable headwinds and ongoing cost-of-living challenges we’re facing, sentiment among home movers remains robust”, the report points out.

It adds that prospects about how long house sales will take remained high “even in August when the holiday season tends to result in a slowdown in transactions”.

Sentiment was high across the country, with Wales posting the highest figures of 83% in August, compared to 81% the previous month. Scotland, the North East and the East Midlands were the lowest regions with 77% confident of a quick sale in August, compared to 78%, 83% and no change the prior month, respectively.

The report comes as the Bank of England has raised interest rates six times since December to 1.75%, to combat rising prices led by energy and food.

Inflation has risen steadily over this period, and although it eased slightly in August, falling to an annual rate of 9.9% from 10.1% in July, the pace of price rises remains close to the highest rate in 40 years. The central bank forecasts the cost of living will hit 13% by the end of the year.

The index adds that 54% of properties were sold subject to contract within 30 days of being advertised for sale last month, compared with 57% in July 2022, and is close to 54% of homes sold in this fashion in August 2021.

It adds: “The dip in August 2022 compared with July suggests that seasonality has returned to the market as we’ve mentioned previously, and it’s perhaps surprising that the numbers are as strong as they are, given so many people took the opportunity to get away this year.”

The survey says September tends to be the biggest listing month of the year after May, and with August seeing the highest stock levels since April last year, this increase in the number of homes for sale may coincide with potentially fewer buyers.

It points out: “Some may decide not to move due to rising costs, six months ago this may not have been the case.”

But OnTheMarket chief executive Jason Tebb says: “Despite all the evidence of a rebalancing of the market, confidence would appear to remain among serious property seekers.

“The resilience of the UK property-seeking public and how they feel about the market is remarkable, yet provides a key indicator in terms of how UK consumers perceive the long-term value of bricks and mortar.”