New trends – online agents, silver spenders and a growing rental market


A new “state of the nation” report has been compiled by TwentyCi analysing the latest trends in the UK’s housing market for the first quarter of 2018, and the overall sentiment is of growing optimism and stability.

Looking at the nation’s property and homemover market in the first three months of this year, confidence appears to be building in spite of concerns over housing stock shortages and the looming Brexit deadline, with property exchanges up by nearly 8% compared to the same period last year, according to the TwentyCi report. A number of other trends were also noted which are changing the face of the housing sector in general.

Online agent transactions are rising

While traditional estate agents still make up the lion’s share of the market, there has been an 11% increase over the last quarter in the number of online-only agents. Nationwide, traditional agents made 205,133 exchanges, compared to the 14,847 made through online services, meaning online took up a 7% share of the overall market. It is a trend that has been growing for some time, with traditional agents such as Foxtons struggling to make the same profits as in previous years, while both buyers and sellers are increasingly opting for the cheaper, more convenient service of online agents.

Silver spenders are on the move

The housing market is currently dominated by the over-50s, many of which were able to get onto the property ladder in times when wages and house prices were more closely matched and are now drawing down their pensions and releasing equity from their bricks and mortar investments. In quarter one of 2018, there was a 46% increase in property exchanges completed by over-65s compared to Q1 2017.

Colin Bradshaw, chief customer officer at TwentyCi, said: “Owners who have been in their properties for many years have significant accumulated equity in most cases. This is effectively a wasted asset, so it is good to see providers enabling owners to remain in their homes while unlocking this capital to spend. On a more cautious note, however, we should be aware of and learn lessons from previous equity release schemes.”

Renting is increasingly popular

Big cities outside of London have seen a rise in the percentage of rental properties available compared to sales over the past year, as demographics change and more young professionals as well as families opt for the convenience and central locations of city renting. The biggest increases were seen in Manchester, Glasgow and Leicester. Manchester now has the highest proportion of properties for rent (46%) compared to those for sale (54%), followed by Newcastle (44% vs 56%) and Birmingham and Nottingham which both have a split of 38% vs 62%. Many cities are seeing an influx in the number of build-to-rent developments taking place as the market recognises the need for good quality, well-located and convenient rental units.

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New trends – online agents, silver spenders and a growing rental market


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