Taking stock of property market trends from Landmark report

Mike Holden, Managing Director of Landmark Valuation Services, reviews patterns presented in Landmark’s report of property market trends to support his work in the lender space and provides his views.

Landmark Information Group has launched a new Property Trends Report with the first edition comparing the market shifts in 2020 with the more typical market conditions seen in 2019.

Looking at January and February 2020 we can see that the year started with relative parity between the four key stages of the transaction pipeline, and all but new listings being higher than 2019 levels. At this point of the year confidence was strong following the significant General Election majority at the end of 2019.

Moving into March last year, we can see the impact of Covid-19 starting to emerge. Listings volumes dropped by 85 per cent in April compared with 2019 volumes.

The two complete months of lockdown in April and May meant that people were unable to view properties or move, unless under exceptional circumstances. This clearly had a profound impact on the property market. New listings at this point were less than 20 per cent of the April 2019 volumes.

As we moved out of lockdown in June, we can again see the incredible rebound of the market. Listings jumped from 41 per cent of 2019 levels in May to over 110 per cent of 2019 levels in June. The fact that properties “sold subject to contract” (SSTCs) returned to parity with 2019 in June so quickly after the market reopened showed that demand was there, as well as the pent-up supply of houses coming to market caused by the lockdown hiatus.

This trend continued into September, with activity at the front end of transactions (listings, SSTC and Search Orders) all well up on 2019 levels. Completions however were lagging, indicating the pipeline difficulties faced by property professionals during this time.

Completion volumes remained steady through June, July and August at 68 per cent, 72 per cent and 71 per cent of their 2019 volumes respectively, again showing the disconnect across the full transaction pipeline. Completion volumes only broke free of their 2019 counterparts in October, a trend that continued into December with a 24 per cent increase. December is traditionally a quiet month, but each key stage in the transaction pipeline was at least 24 per cent above the previous year’s volume.

Overall, the volatility of a housing market battling a government-mandated closure and two national lockdowns is plain to see. Each stage of the transaction pipeline has deviated wildly from the previous year’s figures at some point.

With the extended Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) deadline looming we are likely to see ongoing fluctuations as property professionals manage unpredictable volumes and the repercussions reverberate across the entire property industry.


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Main photo courtesy of Pixabay