UK property market slumps in May

Following a mixed property market in April, May’s figures from the Agency Express Property Activity Index have shown a slowdown in properties coming on to the market, and a further drop in properties ‘Sold’. 

National ‘Sold’ figures declined for a third consecutive month, sitting at -4.4% as did new listings ‘For Sale’ sitting at -3.7%.  While a slowdown during May is not unusual the decline is greater than years previous, although figures may still be somewhat distorted by the stamp duty changes. 

Performance across the rest of the UK remained consistent for May.  Only three of the twelve regions recorded by the Property Activity Index reported increases in properties ‘Sold’ and only four recorded increases in new listings ‘For Sale’.

This month’s top performing regions included:

Properties ‘Sold’

  • Scotland 11.1%
  • Central England 2.5%
  • South West 0.7%

New listings ‘For Sale’

  • East Anglia 12.1%
  • London 6.2%
  • Scotland 5.2%
  • Central England +3.3%

Scotland was this month’s most prominent performer, reporting increases in both new listings ‘For Sale’ sitting at  5.2% and properties ‘Sold’ at 11.1%. Looking back at the Property Activity Index’s historical records Scotland is the only region to consistently return robust figures for May.  

The buoyant activity also supports with the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage lenders where a 7% increase in house purchase lending was reported in the first quarter.  Carol Anderson, CML Scotland chair, stated:

“Seasonal factors often affect lending levels in the first quarter of the year, but there are encouraging indicators in Scotland, as all lending types showed growth year-on-year. 2016 saw the strongest first quarter in a year for house purchase lending since 2008 and, with affordability conditions continuing to be favourable, we would expect gradual year-on-year growth in Scotland to continue throughout 2016.”

The largest decline made in this month’s Property Activity Index was recorded by the South East. New listings ‘For Sale’ sat at -16% and properties ‘Sold’ at -11.9%. However the Index’s three monthly rolling data indicates a minor slowdown of -0.6% in new listings for ‘Sale’. 

Commenting on the latest index results, Stephen Watson, Managing Director of Agency Express said: 

During May we’ve historically witnessed a slower pace throughout the UK property market and the figures for 2016 have largely remained true to trend.  This time last year it was clear to see that the General Election had taken its toll on the UK property market.  Now as we head towards the EU referendum it is predicted that we may see yet another slump in activity. With June being a buoyant month for the UK property Market it will be interesting to see what the Property Activity Index unfolds post June 23rd.

Monthly % Changes for May 2016

% Changes for Mar - May 2016

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

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

New ListingsProperties Sold
May 16May 15May 16May 15
NATIONAL-3.7-0.6-4.4-1.2
Central England3.3-6.12.5-2.4
East Anglia12.1-2.9-1.82.8
East Midlands-10.7-4.1-9.22.9
London6.210.5-7.5-1.7
North East-17.6-0.6-4.1-10.5
North West-9-0.5-8.6-3.9
Scotland5.2711.115.6
South East-16-9.7-11.9-7
South West-8.1-2.90.7-4.9
Wales-9.9-2-4.41
West Midlands-7.5-6.3-14.5-5.7
Yorks & Humber-10.17.6-21
New ListingsProperties Sold
Mar -
Jul 16
Mar -
May 15
Mar -
May 16
Mar -
May 15
NATIONAL-0.22.1-5.52.3
Central England1.61.5-6.31
East Anglia3.81.9-3.70.7
East Midlands-4.7-1.5-7.73.3
London4.57-7.21.9
North East-8.70.62.40.7
North West-3.51.1-4.92.8
Scotland5.15.6-24.3
South East-0.60.4-7.43
South West-1.11.8-3.53.2
Wales-1.92.5-7.81.1
West Midlands-3.2-0.2-11.61.9
Yorks & Humber-2.81.5-3.54.8
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