August 2012 statistics for house sales in the United Kingdom appear to have been negatively influenced by the London Olympics, believe it or not. According to the latest housing market survey released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors,or RICS UK, the Olympics prompted a drop in house viewings, as well as overall lower numbers in terms of sales.
However, Chartered Surveyors society representatives indicate that the trend does not constitute sufficient cause for worry—it is, after all, only normal to have had fewer house viewings what with the Olympics taking place.
In addition, 19% more of those polled reported drops in housing prices. In July, 23% of respondents had posted lower prices on the month. This situation, however, does not hold equally for all of the United Kingdom, since prices in London appreciated. The lowest price readings came from the West Midlands, Humberside, and the Yorkshire area.
Demand for homes had also previously fallen in July, by 9%. The August drop was of a further 9%, but the market’s downward trend has been around since the end of the year’s first quarter. In March, the stamp duty holiday was withdrawn for those purchasing homes for the first time. Add to this the falling levels of consumer confidence, prompted by the Spanish recession, the deepening of the Greek crisis, and the overall debacle afoot in the EuroZone—yet the experts still state that this is no cause for serious concern. According to RICS UK representatives, demand during Q2 has been holding up comparatively well, given the context.
A significant trend, however, comes from a segment of the population that is saying ‘I want to sell my house online.’ Online real estate portals eliminate the need for a middleman, i.e. the real estate agent. By not having to pay this agent his or her fees, the seller is able to save a significant amount of money, of up to GBP3,500. According to recent research, this trend has extended to up to 11% of all homes sold on the United Kingdom’s property market. And as autumn approaches and the property market is expected to regain momentum all across the country, new vendors are increasingly looking into the option of having their homes put up for sale online. According to the RICS experts, 12% more people of all those polled expect sales to rise, come fall, instead of falling, as they have been doing thus far.