GetAgent commissioned a survey of 532 UK estate agents on what they are currently seeing on the ground to gain a temperature test of current market health following the heightened turbulence seen during the closing stages of 2022.
The results show that when it comes to the level of buyer interest currently being seen, the majority of estate agents (57%) are less busy than they were this time last year. A quarter has seen a consistent level of buyer interest, with just 18% stating they are now busier.
Just over half (51%) of estate agents also stated that they are currently sitting on a lower level of for-sale stock versus the start of 2022, with 45% also seeing a dip in the number of new enquiries from those looking to sell a home.
Of those who are seeing buyers act with intent, half stated that they were doing so with offers below the asking price, with just 11% seeing buyers offer above the asking price, suggesting that the manic market conditions of the pandemic have well and truly subsided.
This is no doubt down to the reduction in purchasing power that many buyers have been hit with as a result of increased mortgage costs. No surprise then, that 44% of estate agents have also seen an increased number of transactions falling through for reasons such as a buyer seeing their mortgage offer amended during the transaction process.
With the market now starting to cool following a period of heightened house price growth and with an increased cost of borrowing, it would appear that it’s not just homebuyers and sellers treading with caution.
52% of agents also stated that they have seen an uptick in the number of homes being downvalued by surveyors during the survey process.
Mal McCallion, COO of GetAgent.co.uk, commented: “It’s far too early to tell just how the market is going to perform this year but an initial gauge of market health tells us that we seem to have picked up where we left on in 2022 with respect to a heightened degree of market volatility.
“Many agents seem to be experiencing a drop in buyer and seller activity, with those buyers who are making an offer doing so at below asking price straight off the bat. At the same time, we’re seeing a higher level of transactions falling through and a higher propensity for down valuations as many surveyors anticipate a reduction in house prices.
“It certainly presents a challenge for the nation’s estate agents who will have to prove they are the very best in their respective market in order to entice sellers onto the books.
“Of course, these are all comparisons with what has been an incredible couple of years for the industry. As ever, transactions continue to occur at the right price across all localities.”