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UK Housing Market Returns to Normal Pre-Covid Levels

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    UK Property Market Begins to Stabilise, Good News for Long-Term Outlook

    A property company examining transactions throughout the United Kingdom indicates that the market has finally returned to normalcy in nearly every region.

    The analysis by Quick Move Now focused on the average number of properties available for sale and the percentage of properties sold with a contract. Nationally, the figures have reverted to levels seen before the pandemic. On a regional scale, except for the North West and South West regions, all other areas are experiencing market conditions similar to those in 2019.

    Let’s look at the research and see what it means for investors considering buying a buy-to-let property.

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      What Does UK Housing Market Stock Level Look Like at the Moment?

      According to Quick Move Now director Danny Luke, the market has reverted to an average of 16 properties for sale. Both the number of properties enlisted with estate agents and the percentage of properties sold have reached levels reminiscent of the pre-pandemic era.

      This development is advantageous for both buyers and sellers. Buyers now enjoy a broader selection, which is crucial for sustaining the market, while prices are generally holding steady. This stability is critical for counteracting higher mortgage interest rates and the prevailing challenges of the cost of living.

      In the aftermath of the pandemic-induced lockdown market surge, estate agents witnessed an increase in property listings, but a higher proportion were swiftly sold subject to contract. This, in practical terms, limited options for those looking to relocate. As of February 2022, the average number of properties available within a quarter-mile radius dwindled to just 10, a decline from the average of 16 observed in February 2019 and February 2020.

      While home sellers may be concerned about the lack of price growth, a period of price stability is vital for the prolonged well-being of the property market and the broader economy. This is particularly pertinent following the recent announcement of the UK slipping into a shallow recession at the end of the previous year. The rapid post-pandemic price growth was inherently unsustainable, so the fact that we endured a subdued 2023 – particularly compared to the preceding two years – could be seen as a good thing.

      Despite the prevailing negativity surrounding the property market in the past year, posing challenges for buyers and sellers, it is essentially a transition back to pre-pandemic conditions. Learn more about how to property invest the right way in 2024 with the RWinvest free guide.

      Find Out More: Improve your property investment knowledge with some of our guides, including our article on what is a good yield on a rental property.

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      What About the North West & South West Property Markets?

      Quick Move Now points to the North West and South West as regions still seeing extraneous property market activity.

      In the South West, there’s a 27% decrease in the average number of properties listed on the market compared to 2019. Additionally, the average percentage of properties sold subject to status is seven points lower, indicating a reduced availability of properties in the region.

      If the current demand in the South West is subdued, as suggested by the lower average number of listed properties, the market activity will remain low. However, should demand rise while the supply remains limited, there’s potential for robust price growth in the upcoming months.

      In contrast, the North West has seen the percentage of properties sold subject to contract return to early 2020 levels. Still, there’s a higher number of properties listed with estate agents, signifying increased availability. This could be due to the good-value property prices and high yield potential of cities like Liverpool, enticing investors and homebuyers to the market. The HM Land Registry UK House Price Index shows that the average property price in Liverpool is £1174,603 – over £100,000 cheaper than the average UK property price of £284,691.

      This situation is advantageous for potential buyers who want to invest and let in Liverpool or Manchester, but it may exert downward pressure on property prices.

      Further Reading: If you want to know more about the best UK buy-to-let areas, consider reading some of our helpful area guides, including:

      UK Housing Market Returns to Normal Pre-Covid Levels

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      Dale Barham

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      Dale is a property news and onsite content writer at RWinvest.