I found a fascinating graph today on Twitter, created and posted by Henry Pryor, one of the UK’s most well-known property market commentators (@HenryPryor). The graph tracks the levels of supply and demand for property since 2004. It basically seems to show that (a) you are just a likely to sell your property now as you were during some of the ‘boom’ times, and (b) levels of buyer interest in buying property are pretty consistent throughout the year, even through the winter months when many sellers are thinking that it’s best to wait till spring to try and sell. First the graph, then the comment…!
Why was it fascinating? Because it completely surprised me and confounded some of the feelings that I had about the way that the property market had been going in the past few years, particularly since the housing market ‘crash’ that started in 2008. Obviously these are UK figures, but they’re still very informative.
What is fascinating is that it tracks the relationship between the number of properties people put on the market (level of optimism) and the number of properties that are actually selling (reality). In other words, it shows the likelihood of your property actually selling. And you’d think that this would be worse today than it was a few years ago…right? Well, not necessarily by the looks of things. At the moment it appears that more than half of properties listed actually sell. Even at the ‘peak’ of the market, the statistics weren’t much more favourable. So, from a glance at this graph at least, you appear to have just as good a chance of selling your property now as you did when everything all looked rosy.
What is also interesting is that it shows huge peaks and troughs in the number of people putting their properties on the market: the number of properties coming to the market around November/December/January falls markedly. However, sales levels are actually fairly steady through this period. What does this mean? It means that buyer are still buying properties at this time of year but they have less choice of properties to buy from. I’m sure a statistician or economist might correct me on this, but does this not mean that demand during this time of year is therefore proportionately higher? There’s less competition from other properties on the market so you are more likely to sell? Either way, it does indicate that the lack of confidence that sellers have in selling during winter is not matched by any such lack of desire by buyers to buy.