The usual reasons trotted out include uncertainty ahead of the general election. Never say never, but the only uncertainty we can see is by what margin Mrs May wins. Another supposed reason is the unsure climate brought on by the UK's decision to leave the EU. If this is true, then many people won't be moving at all because the whole process of leaving the EU could take 10 years to complete. Another reason cited is the change in stamp duty. This is odd because on a purchase price of under £500,000, the new sliding scale means that stamp duty is either the same or less, depending on the exact purchase price.
Are there other factors at work? It's certainly true that price/earnings multiples are looking a little stretched at 6.1 against a long-term average of 4.3, although still below the 6.4 peak touched in 2007. And while mortgage rates remain at a record low, there is always a worry that they could rise and make some borrowers struggle with repayments, although this should be built in to the lending criteria employed by banks. Besides which, a majority of mortgages are locked in on a fixed-rate basis. Some also argue that with average earnings failing to keep pace with inflation, spending budgets could be squeezed.