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UK housing market activity bounces back as buyers push through transactions

Following May’s fall in property sales, the number of homes sold in the UK during June improved significantly, as buyers and sellers looked to rush through transactions before jetting off on their summer holidays, fresh figures show.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) reports that UK house sales increased last month, after grinding to a virtual halt in May as families and investors held off from making big financial decisions before the general election.

The average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch rose from 10 in May to 11 in June, supported in part by a 30% jump in first-time buyer transactions.

There were 384 house hunters registered per branch in June, up 10% compared with the 350 per branch a month earlier. This is also a 16% rise from the corresponding month last year when 330 prospective purchasers were registered per branch.

But while there was a pickup in demand, the number of new properties on the market dived as many cautious homeowners opted against putting their properties up for sale, amid political and economic uncertainty, adding to the growing supply-demand imbalance in the market.

The NAEA says that the number of residential properties available per branch fell from 40 in May to just 37 in June.

Given that just 2% of properties sold for more than asking price in June, down 1% month-on-month, while more than four in five (79%) sold for less than asking price, up 2% from May, could have something to do with the fact that many homeowners are currently reluctant to list their property for sale.

The NAEA’s chief executive, Mark Hayward, said: “In May, we saw a period of political uncertainty, with new buyers stalling their house search until after the election. In June however, it seems the market has bounced back, with the number of house hunters rising.

“Although we have seen a decrease in the number of houses available per branch, we have seen a rise in the number of sales – which is typical of this time of year as buyers and sellers push through their property transactions ahead of the quieter summer months.”

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