While there has been a considerable amount of activity in the housing market in the past 12 months, it probably isn’t a surprise to see buyer activity fall off in January and early February.
Uncertainty over the stamp duty holiday, the latest lockdown, and a re-focus on the economic impact of Brexit has left many people questioning whether this is the right time to move. This is the case for buyers and vendors.
However, with plans for exiting lockdown in place, there is a new sense of urgency in place. People are booking holidays and flights. You also have a growing number of prospective buyers searching for homes.
Buyers are contacting agents
According to Rightmove's latest data, the number of prospective buyers contacting agents in February so far is up by 22% on February last year in a sign that many are planning a move regardless of the stamp duty holiday, and the number of renters contacting agents is up by 39%.
In a study conducted by Rightmove, the number of prospective property buyers contacting agents in February 2021 is 22% higher than the number who contacted agents in February 2020. The number of prospective tenants contacting agents has increased by 39%.
Other key findings in the recent Rightmove study includes:
33% of respondents who plan to sell their home in 2021 say a lack of suitable properties is causing them to delay their next move
22% of respondents want to wait until lockdown is over before they make a move
24% of respondents didn’t want to move until they heard if the stamp duty holiday was being extended
There is a fall in the supply of property
Information provided by Rightmove highlights there are 21% fewer properties coming to the market than there was in February 2020.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert, said: “Despite all of the uncertainty right now, there are clear signs from buyers that they want to move home in the UK this year. Our traffic levels are on a par with the mini-boom from last summer, and July’s busiest ever day last year has been replaced by a lockdown day in February. Now that we have some clarity on what the roadmap out of lockdown could look like we expect to see more people putting their home on the market. This should help open up more choice in the market to satisfy the strong buyer demand we’re seeing.”
Tim Bannister continued by saying; “I’ve heard a number of stories of people falling in love with their dream home, only to find it takes time to sell their own one and so lose out on their move. I do completely understand the thinking that home-owners want to find somewhere first, but in the current competitive market if they already have their property up for sale it means when they do find that dream home they’ll have a much better chance of having their offer accepted.”
As is usually the case, the Budget will likely impact the property market too. Demand and supply could well be influenced by the announcements of early March.
Tim Bannister concluded by saying; “People will be eager to hear what the Chancellor decides to do to stamp duty in the budget next week and there are clearly a number of people who are worried about missing the current deadline, but our research shows there are also a large group who do not see this as a factor in deciding to move this year.”
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