The UK housing market has been in a state of flux for some time now, with demand and supply seemingly never quite meeting in the middle.
However, using recent data, what does this tell us about current demand trends?
According to Rightmove’s House Price Index, the average asking price for a property in the UK rose by 0.8% in March 2023, the first time it has risen on an annual basis since October 2022. However, that is in contrast to Nationwide which reported prices were down 3.1% compared with a year earlier, the largest annual decline since July 2009.
If we focus on the data from Rightmove’s House Price Index, there is an argument that demand could be gaining steam.
The index shows that the number of buyers enquiring to make a move over 50km away from where they live increased by 15% in March compared to last year. This suggests that there are still plenty of people out there who are looking to buy a property, even if they are not prepared to pay the asking price.
Furthermore, according to Google Trends, searches for Rightmove have increased by 20% in the past year and 17% between January and March 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, while searches for Zoopla in the UK were up 10% in the same period in 2023 compared to 2022.
A potential sign of stabilisation in the market…maybe, or maybe not…
Visits to the Rightmove website saw a significant drop in March, according to Semrush, from 44.5 million in February to 37.75 million.
Meanwhile, Google searches for “UK housing market” have fallen in recent months. According to Google Trends, searches for the term were down 15% in March 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. While this is by no means an indication of strong or weakening demand, it suggests interest in the market may be starting to decline.
Our View: As you can see, the current data is conflicting…
It remains to be seen how the market will develop in the coming months and years, with the current macroeconomic uncertainty meaning a shift in buyer and seller sentiment could occur at any time. As for now, we remain neutral in our view.