UK lettings market slows in February

The latest data from the Agency Express Property Activity Index has revealed a slower pace for the UK lettings market, as the number of properties hitting the market falls in February. National figures for new listings ‘To Let’ sat at -13.8%, marking the largest month on month decline for February since the indexes first records in 2012.

This month’s figures also appear consistent with recent reports from Paul Smee, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, who commented: “Buy-to-let house purchase activity continues to be weak, despite strong buy-to-let remortgage levels. This will likely remain so going forward as lenders tighten affordability criteria ahead of the PRA mandated stress tests, and the introduction of tax changes in April.” 

In contrast properties ‘Let’ during the period rose, sitting at 3.4%. However, looking back over the Index’s historical data, records show figures in years previous were more robust, sitting at 4.5% in 2016 and 5.5% in 2015.

Looking at performance across the UK, only two of the twelve regions recorded by the Property Activity Index reported increases in new listings ‘To Let’, while five regions reported increases in properties ‘Let’. 

This month’s top performing regions included:

Properties ‘To Let’

  • East Midlands 10%
  • West Midlands 3%

Properties ‘Let By’

  • South East 40.2%
  • West Midlands 7.6%
  • Scotland 6.3%

Following on from a strong market in January the West Midlands maintained momentum, and was the only region in this month’s index to record increases in both new listings at 7.6% and properties ‘Let’ at 3%. Buoyant figures were also returned in the East Midlands. After a slow start to the year the region saw an injection of new listings coming on to the market, figures sat at 10% and marked the region’s largest increase for February since 2014.

The largest decline in this month’s Property Activity Index was recorded in East Anglia. Figures for new listing ‘For Sale’ fell to sit at -25.5%, the month on month decline for February since 2012.

Commenting on the Property Activity Index Lettings Report, Stephen Watson Managing Director of Agency Express said: The Property Activity Index historically shows us a drop in figures throughout February. However, this month we have seen a greater fall than in years previous, an impact of the buy-to-let changes which will undoubtedly affect the market ongoing

Monthly % Changes for February 2017

% Changes for Dec - February 2017

New Listings
% Change over last 12 months vs Previous 12 months

Properties Let
% Change over last 12 months vs Previous 12 months

New ListingsProperties Let
Feb 17Feb 16Feb 17Feb 16
Central England-16.2-9.8-2.4-1.2
East Anglia-25.5-10.4-23.6
East Midlands10-21.8-10.9-6.4
North East-1119.1-8.732.9
North West-
South East-22.4-16.640.22.4
South West-13-16-3.716.7
West Midlands3177.6-3.5
Yorks & Humber-15-15.6-1.8-4.2
New ListingsProperties Let
Dec -
Jan 17
Dec -
Feb 16
Dec -
Feb 17
Dec -
Feb 16
Central England-4.7-2.3-2.87.7
East Anglia-4.46.1-0.36.8
East Midlands-8.1-17.5-4.10.9
North East-6.30.5-2.14.1
North West-9.9-
South East-
South West-6.8-14.36.814.7
West Midlands1.52.927.5
Yorks & Humber-7.4-8.100.5

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