32% surge in house sales during March as spring market heats up

 The average house prices across the UK rose by 11% annually to £212,372, a 1% rise on last month.
The price rises has been stemmed marginally by an increase in the number of instructions coming onto the market, up 36% on month. But demand is still outperforming supply as new buyers continue to flood into the market, with first time buyer mortgage applications up 7%, so prices are still rising as a result of the shortage of property.

In London the situation is more acute, with prices rising 2% on month, but 24% annually to £457,872. This sharp annual growth is attributed to a surge in buyer demand, up 33% on month and 38% annually and buyers and investors from around the world flock to buy property in the Capital.

Property Sales Transactions

Spring has certainly sprung in the housing market, as sales transactions across the UK soar by 32% on month and 24% annually. Both the number of new buyers and the number of instructions are rising at a rate of knots and this is resulting in a surge in sales. In London the picture is much the same, with the number of property sales rising by 34% on month and 24% annually. Again, rising levels of both new instructions and new buyers is underpinning this activity with levels of sales have hitting a two year high across the UK and in London.

Mortgage Demand

Mortgage applications have increased 5% on the month and 1% annually, with first-time-buyer mortgage applications rising by 7% on the month. The desire to buy property remains strong across all buyer groups and with historically low interest rates set to continue until next year the demand will remain strong. The recommendations from the Mortgage Market Review will be introduced from 26th April and this has the potential to slow the rate of growth within the market due to the additional administration, but it is unlikely to affect the market adversely in the long run.

Demand/Supply Analysis

The number of new buyers registering this month rose sharply by 28% on the month and 33% annually. This month the level of new instructions also rose dramatically, increasing by 36% on month and 10% nationally as homeowners seek to capitalise on the rising market. As a result the ratio of new buyers to new instructions dipped marginally to 7.3/1 from 7.7/1 last month.

In London the picture is similar, with buyer registrations rising by 33% on month and 38% annually and instructions rising by 32% on month but just 10% annually. The annual rate of growth of buyers still outweighs the number of properties quite substantially, though on the month the rise is similar, causing the ratio of new buyers to instructions remain at 13.5/1.

Buyer Activity

Across the UK both the number of viewings and the number of offers has increased substantially, by 29% on month and 28% respectively. This is a sign of a competitive and fast moving market, where buyers are taking less time to make a decision. As a result of the similar growth the ratio of viewings to offers rose marginally to 8.3/1 from 8.2/1 last month.

In London the number of offers (+34%) rose at a greater rate than the number of viewings (+30%) highlighting just how quickly buyers are moving in the Capital. Consequently the ratio of viewings to offers dropped to 10.7/1 from 11.0/1 last month.

Efficiency of the Market

As a result of the pace of the market buyers are making decisions quickly and this is reflected in the ratio of offers to sales. In the UK the ratio has come down to 1.8/1 from 1.9/1 last month as the number of sales (+32%) grew at a faster rate on month than the number of offers (+28). In London the picture is even more acute but the number of sales and offers grew at the same high rate of 34%, hence the ratio remains at 2.8 offers to every sale.