Residential Property Review – February 2023

Housing market continues slowdown

According to the latest UK Residential Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) new buyer demand, sales, fresh listings and prices are all on a downward trend.

January saw the ninth successive negative monthly reading for new buyer enquiries, with contributors to the survey in all parts of the UK reporting either a fall in demand or stagnation in enquiries. Alongside this, respondents continued to see a drop in the volume of fresh listings coming onto the sales market.

RICS report that twelve-month price expectations remain firmly negative, with a headline net balance of -40%. However, this is less downbeat than readings of -61% and -57% posted in November and December respectively.

Separate figures from the Bank of England show net borrowing of mortgage debt by individuals decreased from £4.3bn in November to £3.2bn in December and mortgage approvals dropped from 46,200 to 35,600 in the same period, the lowest since May 2020.

Energy-efficient homes hold value

Home buyers are increasingly factoring in energy costs when making homebuying decisions, resulting in energy-efficient homes outperforming other properties during the current market slowdown.

Six out of 10 estate agents said homes with high energy-efficiency ratings were holding their value, according to Zoopla. Four out of 10 said they were seeing more interest in energy-efficient homes from potential buyers.

The government’s Energy Price Guarantee has kept bills lower over the winter months but the guarantee will change in April when the average annual bill for gas and electricity is expected to jump to around £3,000.

If you’re selling or renting a property, it’s a legal requirement to have an up-to-date EPC rating. A is the most efficient EPC rating and G is the least efficient. While 80% of new-build homes have an EPC rating of A or B, only 3% of older properties have a rating this high.

Cost of renting soared in 2022

Research by Zoopla has found that rent increases in 2022 were at their highest level for the last decade. In December, the UK average rent was £1,118 per month which is 11.5% or £120 higher than a year previously. 

The average monthly rent in London was £1,976 and the capital also saw the highest rent increase in the UK with annual growth of 16.1%. Rents also soared in other major cities such as Manchester (£977 per month and 14.8%), Glasgow (£844 per month and 13.1%) and Edinburgh (£1,130 per month and 12.7%).

The soaring cost of renting has caused many tenants to move to cheaper regions. In particular, London tenants have been leaving the capital in record numbers. Hamptons Lettings Index found that 40% of renters moving home in London last year chose to leave the capital, up from just 28% a decade ago.  This equated to 90,370 households, with the numbers doubling since 2012.  Hamptons expect the number of renters leaving the capital to continue rising for the foreseeable future. 

All details are correct at the time of writing (16 February 2023)

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