Property drought keeps pushing up house prices – as three quarters of agents say EPC ratings have ‘little or no’ impact on how much homes are worth
- Estate agent survey reveals number of listings on their books continues to fall
- Competition among buyers means 70% of agents have seen sale prices increase
- But despite Government eco drive, they say EPC rating doesn’t influence price
- Rightmove has also named an Essex town as the UK’s ‘top sellers’ market’
House prices continued to rise in October, as competition for properties was stoked by a reduction in the number of homes on agents’ books.
Estate agents now have just 37 properties on their books on average, down from around 42 in March, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ monthly market survey.
A fifth of contributors to the survey reported a fall in the number of new properties being listed for sale.
The number of homes for sale continues to fall, according to Rics estate agents
Meanwhile, Rics also said there had been a dip in the number of sales agreed during the month.
A lack of choice is not only affecting sales but is also a significant factor behind house price rises, the report added.
In October, a net balance of 70 per cent of estate agents said they were seeing a rise in house prices, with virtually all parts of the UK continuing to experience sharply increasing property values.
A quarter (25 per cent) said they thought price increases would continue over the next three months, and 69 per cent thought it would continue for the next year.
The number of homes each estate agent has on its books has declined sharply
This graph shows how estate agents expect prices to move in the next five years
Last week, the latest Halifax house price index reported that prices hit a record high of £270,027 in October, with the typical property having increased in value by 8.1 per cent in the last year.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said:’The monthly RICS housing survey is invariably a reliable indicator of market trends.
‘This latest report is no exception and confirms what we are seeing on the ground – more resilience than expected after so many brought forward purchases in the summer taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday in particular.’
EPC rating has ‘little impact’ on house prices
The Rics survey also sought to find out how the Government drive to make homes greener was impacting the housing market.
While a third of property professionals said they had seen an increase in demand for energy-efficient homes over the past year, more than three quarters said a home’s EPC rating had little or no impact on a its sale price.
More than half (54 per cent) said the measure had little impact, while 23 per cent believed that it had no impact whatsoever.
Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: ‘As long as there is a lack of choice for would-be buyers, it is clear that buyers’ ambition to be more climate-friendly will have to move down their list of priorities.’
Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said that the cost and potential disruption of carrying out work to improve a home’s EPC rating would not be justifiable for many.
‘Homeowners are increasingly aware that they need to do more to help this agenda but the cost of doing so is still high and beyond the means of many,’ he said.
‘Not all options are viable either, with air source heat pumps, for example, requiring huge boxes to be placed on outside walls, which many homes don’t have space for.
‘There are also potential noise issues associated with these pumps, and less efficient heating than you might expect from a traditional boiler.’
Grays named top sellers’ market
Research published by Rightmove has revealed the strongest sellers’ markets in the UK this autumn, with Grays in Essex topping the list.
There, more than eight out of every ten properties for sale on Rightmove already sold subject to contract.
It was closely followed by Mangotsfield near Bristol, and Eastleigh in Hampshire.
The top ten markets where homes are easiest to sell, according to Rightmove
Rightmove said two out of every three homes on Rightmove across Great Britain were marked SSTC this Autumn, compared to around one in two homes this time last year – again citing strong buyer demand as the reason.
However, there are still areas where the buyer is in a strong negotiating position, according to Rightmove. This is especially true of high-end flats in London.
In Chelsea, just one in ten properties are SSTC, and seven out of the top ten buyers’ markets are all in London.
It is a common trait in the high-end London market that homes tend to stay up for sale for longer until a buyer gets an offer close to their desired price.
These are the locations where homes are not selling so easily, so buyers are in control