22nd November 2023

Residential supply and demand less downbeat 

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) October UK Residential Market Survey, demand is still falling faster than supply. 

New buyer enquiries posted a net balance of -28% during October, marking eighteen successive months in which this indicator has been in negative territory. Nevertheless, the latest reading is less downcast compared to a figure of -37% seen in the September survey and represents the least negative return since May 2023.  

For agreed sales, the latest net balance of -25% is consistent with generally weak activity levels over October. However, the reading is again less negative than figures of -45% and -35% recorded in August and September respectively. 

New residential listings coming to market continue to slow, evidenced by a net balance reading of 

-7% for October. Respondents to the survey report that the number of market appraisals undertaken over the month is below that seen in the equivalent period of last year, with a net balance of -51%. 

Fixer uppers are most in demand 

When looking at more than 600,000 property listings to see which features led to the highest number of enquiries to estate agents, Rightmove has found that fixer-upper homes, or those that are described as needing refurbishment, are at the top of the list for buyers. 

Two groups of buyers compete for this type of home: first-time buyers looking for a cheaper property to get on the ladder which they can refurbish over time and investors looking to grab a  bargain and do it up to sell or rent out. 

Conversely, house hunters looking for a refurbished home can expect to pay an extra £70,000 on average for the privilege (19% more than the average national house price). 

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister commented, “This really shows the different priorities that home-movers have – some are in a more fortunate position to be able to consider buying a newly refurbished home, while others want to put their own stamp on a home and do it up from scratch, or they may realise that if they buy now they can spend time doing up the house a room at a time.” 

New Housing Minister  

As part of the government reshuffle, Lee Rowley has replaced Rachel Maclean as Housing Minister.  

Rowley is the sixteenth Housing Minister since the Conservatives came into power in 2010 and he held the same position during the short-lived premiership of Liz Truss. He will oversee the Renters’ Reform Bill, which is now at Committee stage, with findings scheduled to be reported back to the House of Commons by 5 December 2023. 

The new Housing Minister will also address the Leasehold and Freehold Bill, confirmed in the recent King’s Speech. This Bill aims to eliminate punitive service charges and facilitate easier acquisition of freeholds by leaseholders. 

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