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Lettings market hits the buffers in February after strong start to the year

The UK lettings market experienced a slowdown in February after a buoyant start to the year, according to the latest findings from the Agency Express Property Activity Index.

The data found that national month-on-month figures for new listings ‘To Let’ sat at -16%, while properties ‘Let’ during the same period saw a lesser decline at -5%.

Although February’s figures are impacted by the usual January spike – with people making a post-New Year decision to move home - the index’s year-on-year data does show a greater level of activity in 2018.

When analysing activity across the individual regions recorded by the Property Activity Index, all twelve regions witnessed declines in new listings ‘To Let’ and only one region – London - reported a rise in properties ‘Let’.

The capital was the only region to record an increase in this month’s index, with figures for properties ‘Let’ remaining on trend at 16.5%.

Regions recording the smallest declines in properties ‘To Let’ included Scotland (-0.7%), Central England (-5.7%), Yorkshire and Humberside (-9.1%), the North East (-12.5%) and London (-13.7%).

Meanwhile, the smallest declines for properties ‘Let By’ were seen in Central England (-0.7%), the South East (-1.1%), Yorkshire and Humberside (-2.2%), the West Midlands (-4.5%) and Wales (-6.5%).

The biggest decline in this month’s Property Activity Index, on the other hand, was recorded in Wales. Following a strong start to the year, figures for new listings ‘To Let’ dropped to -34.5% and, over a three-month rolling period, to -11.8%.

Looking back over the index’s historical data, the decline in activity is the region’s largest on record for February.

“The Property Activity Index historically shows us a slowdown in activity throughout February,” Stephen Watson, managing director of estate agent boards firm Agency Express, said of the latest data.

“This month has remained relatively true to trend but overall we are seeing a slower market compared to 12 months previous.”

You can see further analysis and download the full report here.

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