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Average UK House Price Grows >£2,500 in a Month – Rightmove

The latest House Price Index from Rightmove indicates that the cost of a property coming to the market in the last month rose by £2,509.

Given that the average UK salary per month is a little under £2,000 after tax, this means that in many cases, the average home is earning more per month than the people inside it.

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Commenting on the figures, Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said: “A 0.8% rise in monthly price rises, whilst slower in pace than in recent months, is still almost 10% annually if such a trend were to continue. That’s colossal growth and even more so at the top end of the market where homes are seeing over 12% rises in value despite the fact they may soon miss out on the maximum stamp duty holiday saving of £15,000. This bodes well and may confound the doomsayers that have been forecasting a cliff edge come the end of June.”

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Others were more critical. Matthew Cooper, managing director of Yes Homebuyers, said: “Property stock is evaporating at an alarming rate due to huge levels of buyer demand and this severe imbalance is causing an artificial property price boom. Great for sellers who can justify overpricing their home but not so great for the wider market that is already groaning under the pressure.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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Residential transactions up 138% in year to May

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in May 2021 was 114,940, 138.2% higher than May 2020, according to HMRC.

However, this is 3.9% lower than April 2021.

The provisional seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in May 2021 was 10,900, up 87.5% annually and 8.7% higher on a monthly basis.

Looking to the provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK residential transactions in May 2021, this figure was 103,100, up 123.4% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, this figure had fallen by 8.7% between April and May 2021.

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The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of UK non-residential transactions in May 2021 was 9,560, 80.1% higher than May 2020 and 7.8% lower than April 2021.

The provisional non-seasonally adjusted estimate of 392,860 for UK residential transactions during Q1 of the 2021 calendar year is the highest Q1 total since the introduction of stamp duty statistics in their current format from 2005.

As well as this, it is the highest quarterly total since 2006 Q2, at 419,270.

Steve Seal said: “It’s encouraging to see that the number of property transactions has remained at a healthy level as the market continues to recover.

“House prices are now experiencing a substantial boom, with the stamp duty holiday and demand for remote-work-appropriate properties both helping to fuel the market’s rebound.

“Rising house prices have, however, been detrimental to first time buyers, pushing their homeownership aspirations even further out of reach.

“Many younger borrowers have also experienced a financial setback during the crisis, which has only compounded the problem.

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“As a result, demand for specialist mortgages is expected to rise among this cohort when they consider the lending options available to them.

“The specialist market must prepare for this increase, and lenders and advisers will need to work together to capitalise on the opportunities coming their way.”

Guy Gittins added: “May continued the exceptional transaction volume we have seen throughout the entire year with three times more buyers than usual.

“Viewings have been at a five-year high for the past three months. This has led to competitive bidding but with supply meeting demand, large price increases have been kept at bay.”

Gareth Lewis said: “The busiest May since 2007 is partly down to the lack of transactions last year, thanks to the pandemic, and the stimulus that the stamp duty holiday is giving the market.

“It is too early to say whether sentiment is such that we are now on a continuous upwards trend or it is a blip.

“However, on the positive side, people are looking to transact and are buying property. Even though there are still numerous people on furlough and many sectors are not working as they should, there is still confidence there.

“Until we get out of the other side of all this, and don’t have the stamp duty holiday and other stimulus, we won’t know exactly where we sit. Only time will tell if the market falls off a cliff.

“At some point, the government needs to think longer term and address issues such as the lack of affordable housing.

“This has been pushed down the line by COVID and we are not likely to see anything until next year at the earliest.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Property prices hit record high as average UK home now costs staggering £336,000

Property sales prices have hit a record high for the third month in a row, pushing the typical price tag across Britain to £336,073.

The price of homes coming to the market increased by 0.8%, or £2,509, on average in June, according to Rightmove.

It said asking prices across all regions have risen – despite Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures last week showing the average UK house price fell by £5,000 in April after reaching a record high in March – the month when a stamp duty holiday was originally due to end.

The ONS house price index is less timely than Rightmove’s data as it is based on completed sales at the end of the conveyancing process, rather than the prices that sellers are looking to achieve.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “Record low interest rates and stamp duty tax reliefs have helped many to afford higher prices, satisfying their pent-up desires for a new home fit for a new era.

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“Some of that demand has now been met, and the phasing out of stamp duty reliefs has also taken away some of the urgency to move, though our high traffic and search data indicate that there is still strong buyer demand. This super-charged activity cannot go on forever, but we expect the market to remain vigorous for at least the remainder of the year.”

Demand is particularly high for “top of the ladder” detached homes with four bedrooms or more with the number of sales agreed for properties priced over £500,000 up by 49% in May compared with May 2019.

The housing market as a whole has seen an average price rise of 7.5% since March 2020, or £23,448. But average prices for top of the ladder homes have increased by £67,394, or 12.3%, during this period. Prices of newly marketed properties in Wales are up by 14.6% since March 2020 – the biggest rise in Britain, Rightmove said.

The second largest price rise is in the South West, where price tags are up by 11.4%.

Mr Bannister continued: “Average prices in Wales are well below the national average, offering good value as well as beautiful rural and coastal surroundings.

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“Buyer demand is up by 44% compared to a year ago, the highest increase of any part of Britain. The South West has been long-established as a second home hotspot, but has seen renewed impetus from main residence relocators being unshackled from the traditional locations for their daily commute.”

Matt Barry, director at Astleys estate agents in Swansea, said: “We’re now regularly receiving offers from multiple buyers per property. This often results in us requesting best and final offers and homes selling for far in excess of the original asking price.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “There were 18 buyers chasing every listing across our branches in the South West last month as towns and villages which were once out of reach to five-day-a-week commuters now present realistic options for hybrid or remote workers.”

By Brett Gibbons

Source: Kent Live

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Buyer Demand Remains Higher for Houses Due to Covid

Covid-19 continues to fuel buyer demand for larger homes and more outdoor space across every county in England according to recent research by PropCast, with three-bed houses the most desirable and one-bed flats the least.

The findings from the house selling weather forecast analysed buyer demand across England to see what percentage of houses and flats for sale were being snapped up, and how that differed between the number of bedrooms.

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PropCast has found 73 per cent of houses for sale are under offer or subject to contract – substantially higher than the figure for flats (43 per cent). Houses are the most sought after with the top five counties being: Bristol (83 per cent); Dorset (81 per cent); Hampshire and West Sussex (80 per cent); Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire (79 per cent); and East Sussex, Essex, Suffolk, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset (78 per cent). London has the least amount of houses under offer or subject across England (56 per cent), but this is still larger than the sale of flats (35 per cent).

On average, three-bed houses are in most demand with 76 per cent for sale under offer or subject to contract, followed by two-beds (75 per cent), four plus-beds (69 per cent) and one-beds (62 per cent).

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Meanwhile, one-bedroom flats are the least desirable at 44 per cent – most likely due to not having a garden and with limited space indoors – along with three-bedroom flats. In terms of flats overall, two-beds are the most popular (50 per cent), followed by four-plus beds (39 per cent).

Gavin Brazg, founder of PropCast said: “Over the last year, we can see buyer demand has grown to record high levels across England, and we don’t expect this to peter out anytime soon. However, it’s clear to see that if you’re trying to sell a flat at the moment with minimal to no outdoor space, it is going to be harder to find a buyer quickly. My advice would be to look at the situation as if you are in a buyers’ market, which is a time where you have to change your selling strategy in order to achieve the best possible price and fast. The best way to strengthen your position is to price conservatively from the start and choose a local, trusted estate agent who truly knows the market and how best to position your home within it.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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90% of brokers believe bridge-to-let can assist BTL clients

An estimated 90% of brokers believe that bridge-to-let can help overcome concerns about bridging finance for buy-to-let (BTL) clients, according a poll conducted in partnership between Castle Trust Bank and Knowledge Bank.

Brokers discussed the benefits of bridging as a way of helping buy-to-let clients access new opportunities, but more than a quarter (28%) said their clients had concerns about short-term finance.

However, participants were almost unanimous in their agreement that bridge-to-let offered a way to overcome client concerns.

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Brokers also agreed that buy-to-let is a growing market, with 64% saying that they have seen an increase in BTL and holiday let enquiries in the last three months.

Rob Oliver said: “Bridging finance often enables investors to access opportunities that they wouldn’t be able to fund with a mortgage at the outset.

“But some clients are hesitant when it comes to short term lending as they worry about the uncertainty and unknown costs if they are unable to secure a suitable exit in their anticipated timeframe.

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“Bridge-to-let tackles these concerns head on, with a pre-agreed exit onto a buy-to-let mortgage, including the price, at the outset.

“It’s one application process that offers speed, efficiency, budget planning and peace of mind, so no wonder 90% of brokers agree it’s a great way to beat client concerns.”

Matthew Corker added: “There’s strong demand from property investors at the moment, and many are looking at more specialist types of investment, such as HMOs, holiday lets and multi-units, which offer the potential for greater returns.

“Fortunately, there are lots of innovative options, like bridge-to-let, which enable investors to make the most of new opportunities, whilst also managing their own risk.”

By Jake Carter

Source: SFI

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The Most and Least Affordable Locations for First-Time Buyers

As the government launches First Homes – its latest scheme designed to help first-time buyers in England onto the property ladder – new research has revealed the most and least affordable locations following a turbulent 12 months for the UK property market.

Compiled by online mortgage broker Mojo Mortgages, the First Homes scheme affordability index looked at various factors affecting home affordability in June 2021 including house prices, mortgage repayments, average annual salary and monthly take home pay to work out where in England was most and least affordable.

The figures have been released following the launch of the government’s First Homes scheme this month; designed to help first-time buyers and key workers onto the property ladder in their local areas that might otherwise have had to move to another city to afford their first home.

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First Home properties will be priced at a discount of at least 30 per cent of the original market value to allow more affordable deposits and mortgages with prices being capped at a maximum of £250,000 (£420,000 in Greater London). However, it’s important to note that this discount will apply to the lifetime of the property, meaning that same percentage discount will apply when the home is resold in the future.

Based on the average monthly mortgage payment as a percentage of income*, Oxford was the least affordable location in England for first-time buyers with the average monthly mortgage repayment taking up 49.37 per cent of a couple’s take home pay. This is based on an average property price in the city of £540,005 and an average annual salary of £31,232.

Bath (47.65 per cent) and London (47.12 per cent) followed close behind highlighting the difficulty of getting onto the property ladder in these areas. However, it’s clear there was some variance across the capital’s 32 London boroughs.

The ten least affordable areas in England based on mortgage as a percentage of income were as follows:

  • Oxford (49.37 per cent)
  • Bath (47.65 per cent)
  • London (47.12 per cent)
  • Reading (38.98 per cent)
  • Poole (38.72 per cent)
  • Cambridge (38.49 per cent)
  • Brighton (37.19 per cent)
  • Slough (36.68 per cent)
  • Cheltenham (36.38 per cent)
  • Exeter (35.03 per cent)

In contrast, it was Bradford that was most affordable for first-time buyers.

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With an average property price of £145,981 and an average annual salary of £28,790, this equated to 14.30 per cent in terms of monthly mortgage payments as a percentage of income – the lowest in England.

Blackpool (15.94 per cent) and Stoke-on-Trent (17.35 per cent) followed closest behind with the top ten most affordable areas for first-time buyers as follows:

  • Bradford (14.30 per cent)
  • Blackpool (15.94 per cent)
  • Stoke-on-Trent (17.35 per cent)
  • Sunderland (17.56 per cent)
  • Middlesbrough (17.70 per cent)
  • Hull (17.72 per cent)
  • Carlisle (17.82 per cent)
  • Durham (18.10 per cent)
  • Liverpool (18.56 per cent)
  • Bolton (19.19 per cent)

Regardless of location, the First Homes scheme could make a significant difference to a first-time buyer’s monthly outgoings once on the property ladder in terms of mortgage payments as well saving for that all important deposit.

For example, for those in London that purchase a property under the scheme, they can expect to pay on average around £766 less a month on their mortgage repayments, taking their percentage spend of income from 42.17 per cent to 32.97 per cent –  a significant saving.

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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London’s Rental Market Heats up According to Chestertons

London’s rental market is witnessing a strong recovery in spite of the pandemic, according to Chestertons’ latest analysis. Comparing May to April, the agency’s 31 branches across London confirmed a cumulative 17 per cent increase in new tenant registrations and 10% increase in agreed lettings.

Whilst demand is up, the number of properties available to rent at the end of May 2021 was down, with Chestertons registering a 3 per cent reduction in supply compared to end of April 2021 and a staggering 24 per cent reduction compared to May 2020. With demand outstripping supply, fewer landlords are now willing to drop their rents which is a stark contrast to this time last year when high numbers of London landlords dropped their rents by up to 20 per cent.

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In fact, Chestertons confirms that in many London postcodes, rents increased in May vs April. Some of the areas that have seen the biggest rental increase are Barnes (+17 per cent), Wandsworth (+15 per cent), Mayfair (+23 per cent), Westminster (+18 per cent) and South Kensington (+12 per cent).

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Richard Davies, Head of Lettings at Chestertons, says: “The majority of tenants registering with us now see their return to the office as imminent; whether that’s full or part-time. With that in mind, and with rents at the lowest level they have been in years, tenants are rushing to snap up a London rental property at a reduced cost. At the same time, as lockdown restrictions are easing and travel becomes possible again, we are also seeing the return of overseas student demand. With the continuous increase of tenants wanting to move back to London, we expect London’s rental market to become increasingly competitive over the next few months; particularly during the summer, which has always been a key season for tenants to move.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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Average UK House Price Falls for First Time in Months

The average UK house price fell 1.9 per cent between March and April but was still 8.9 per cent higher than it was in April 2020, according to HM Land Registry’s latest House Price Index.

The index, released yesterday, showed the average price of a property in April 2021 was £250,772, down from £255,707 the month before. Since at least May 2020, average house prices within the UK have increased incrementally.

The increase in mortgage lending throughout March, itself boosted by the Stamp Duty holiday, to £35.6bn was thought to have boosted April’s sales, even though the average price fell.

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Nick Barnes, head of research at Chesterton’s, said that this would have a snowball effect in the coming months.

He added: “As a result, we will continue to see strong demand from property buyers in an already competitive market.”

Others, including Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer of Gatehouse Bank, said that the annual growth in prices was ‘still remarkable’.

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He added: “There remains a shortage of properties coming onto the market in many areas, resulting in intense competition in some cases, and this factor is likely to keep prices pushing upwards throughout the summer.”

Others took up the theme of the UK’s housing shortage.

Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen, said: ““Our national housing supply squeeze looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, pushing up prices further still. The beneficiaries on the building side are the developers of homes with access to gardens, given that working from home and more flexible working practices are likely to continue in the coming months, driving people to move into bigger homes with access to green space.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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Stamp Duty Holiday End Means Buyers Need a Plan B

The upcoming end of the stamp duty holiday in its current format could lead to a significant increase in the number of chains collapsing and means agencies, now more than ever, need to have contingency plans in place.

That is the warning from chain repair experts HBB Solutions, which says agents need to have a clear plan B if things start to go wrong.

The stamp duty has undoubtedly boosted and sustained the market since it was introduced back in July 2020, but the first stage of its phased-out approach is set to be reached at the end of this month (June 30).

At present, any home worth up to £500,000 is eligible for the stamp duty holiday, but after June 30 the nil rate threshold will drop to homes worth up to £250,000 until September 30. From October onwards, the nil rate threshold will return to its pre-stamp duty holiday level of £125,000.

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HBB Solutions has been in touch with some of the high street’s major lenders on their cut-off dates for receiving a Certificate of Title (COT) in order to complete on a mortgage by month end.

HSBC/First Direct                                         21 June 2021

Leeds Building Society                                23 June 2021

Halifax                                                            23 June 2021

Barclays Bank                                                23 June 2021

Precise Mortgages                                       25 June 2021

Meanwhile, Nationwide/The Mortgage Works has provided no deadline, but have said they will need five working days to send the funds by BACS and if the notice is less, they will deduct £20 for the CHAPS payment.

This effectively means anyone relying on mortgage funding has about a week left for their solicitor to complete their work, so the lenders can get the COT next week and release funds in time to beat the deadline.

This, in turn, means there could be many buyers and sellers, relying on the significant stamp duty savings they could make, pulling out late on and leading to the unfortunate but all too common situation of a chain collapsing like a pack of cards.

However, there are ways agents can prevent long chains and fall-throughs from disrupting their business, HBB Solutions insists.

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Chris Hodgkinson, managing director of HBB Solutions and a former agent himself, said: “We all know how frustrating it can be when chains collapse. We’ve been fixing them for nearly 11 years now. We typically buy with a discount or alternatively charge a fee, starting from as little as 8%, for our service. But that cost doesn’t have to be absorbed by just the one seller, it can be negotiated across the entire chain to make if affordable and keep the sale of every house together. Even if a sale falls through only days away from completion, we’re here to help and get it back on track.”

Fall-throughs and chains breaking down – how big a problem is it? 

Data earlier this year estimated that one in four sales fall through before completion, costing homebuyers an average of £2,700 each time.

Research from property platform WiggyWam found that, in total, property transactions that fall through are costing UK homebuyers a massive £607m every year.

And there are fears that this number will inevitably rise further as the stamp duty holiday gradually comes to an end in two blocks.

On average, nearly a quarter of am (225,000) fall-throughs occur each year in the property market, costing buyers, sellers and agents alike.

There are a number of different reasons for property sales being cancelled before completion, which typically include mortgage issues, gazumping and gazundering, conveyancing delays, problems revealed in the survey, and broken chains.

Sales that are part of a chain – which is most sales – are especially vulnerable to fall-throughs, as it only takes problems with one part of the chain to cause major issues for everyone else. In particularly long and complex chains – it is not unheard of for four or five sets of buyers and sellers to exist in a chain – the chances of fall-throughs and complications are naturally much greater.

It seems highly likely, given the extraordinary levels of demand at play in the property market right now, that the one-in-four statistic – which others elsewhere have previously suggested is as high as one-in-three sales collapsing – will increase by the end of the year.

“I think we all know the pressure lenders, solicitors, search providers and, in particular, agency sales progression teams will be under in June,” Hodgkinson continues.

“We’re standing by and have our lawyers, resource and, quite importantly, cash funds all in place. We can give you a purchase price within just a few hours and provide a same day completion if it is required. If you have a chain That is not on track, then talk to us, we’re here to help.”

HBB Solutions believes that, even once the two-stage stamp duty holiday has ended, there could be issues with buyers walking away from a sale because they will no longer benefit from the stamp duty saving. In turn, sellers may be less likely to list – or withdraw their home from the market – if they start to panic about demand falling off a cliff.

What is the solution? 

As the old saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and HBB Solutions believes that agents need to partner with a firm that can offer alternative solutions to be ahead of the game if the worst comes to the worst in terms of more chains collapsing.

One estate agent partner HBB Solutions is already working with has championed the merits of having a chain repair plan B at its fingertips.

Simon Bradbury, managing director of Thomas Morris, comments: “We find the service and proposition that HBB provide is excellent! In the highly competitive market in which we currently operate, it is increasingly challenging to come up with a genuine and compelling USP to entice prospective sellers.”

He adds: “The HBB proposition is a great ‘insurance policy’ when a chain collapses or a seller needs a guaranteed sale.”

Meanwhile, Relocation Agent Network (RAN) – a national network of estate agents specialising in relocation – has been recommending the services of HBB to its membership for more than two years now.

Mark Westcott, director at RAN, said: “We were impressed by the proposition and the team behind HBB and they were by the quality of the estate agents that make up RAN. The introduction of HBB to the membership has led to many successful deals completed as a result. Our members are now able to market HBB’s services to potential vendors as another option if needed, giving them a competitive edge, as well as promoting a part exchange offering to local developers for any sites they have that don’t have access to that service.”

The remainder of this month is likely to be incredibly busy for agents, conveyancers, surveyors and removal firms, Hodgkinson adds, and then again in the lead-up to the end of September.

Given the pressure on the system, it seems almost certain that there will be a rise in the number of chains collapsing and the number of transactions falling through, and it will be those agents who have an adequate plan B in place who will be best set to cope.

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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Residential property market steadies at elevated levels the latest data showed

The UK residential property market steadied in the past week, remaining at significantly elevated levels overall with new vendor enquires holding flat at 26% above average, while buyers dipped 6% to help partially redress the significant demand/supply imbalance, the latest data from the Yomdel Property Sentiment Tracker (YPST) showed.

Landlords recovered some of their recent losses, bouncing back 8% to end the week 7% below average, but this was swiftly offset by an equivalent rise in new tenant enquiries. However, traffic to own-branded estate agent websites remained some 31% above average and the volumes of new leads generated via live chat overall was up by more than a third compared to pre-Covid data, to show that the extraordinary shift to digital seen over the past year is likely here to stay.

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Yomdel provides 24/7 managed live chat services to 3,800 estate agent offices in the UK, handling more than a two million chats per year. It has analysed the data and leads captured in live chat going back to January 2019, up until week ending 13 June 2021. The website visitor data is a sample across major estate agency groups in the UK and covers in excess of 55 million unique website visits back to January 2019.

“Estate agents are facing the tightest new instruction crunch in many years, with buyers scrapping for well-priced properties, but this is set to inevitably slow as the stamp duty holiday starts to be wound and people turning their attention to the summer,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel Founder.

“The sun has finally started to shine, there is the Euro 2020 football tournament underway and Wimbledon just round the corner so it is natural that peoples’ attention is shifting away from being hunkered down inside under lockdown and the evidence we have is that in property and numerous other sectors website traffic, and consequently new enquiry volumes, are dropping,” said Andy Soloman, Yomdel founder.

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The YPST methodology establishes a base line average shown as 100% or 100, calculated according to average engagement values over the 62 weeks prior to the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020, and plots movements from there according to the volumes of people engaging in live chat, their stated needs, questions asked, and new business leads generated. Data is measured over full 24-hour periods.

New vendors rose 0.18%, or 0.23 points, to end the week on 125.82, some 26% above the average, 27% below the same week last year during the initial lockdown, and 21% above the equivalent week 2019.

Buyers dropped 6.47%, or 8.98 points, to close at 129.81, 30% above the pre-covid-19 average, 30% below the same week 2020 and 23% higher than the equivalent week 2019 before coronavirus hit.

Landlords recovered by 8.23%, or 7.04 points, to 92.59, some 7% below the average, 36% lower than the same week last year, and 3% below the same week 2019.

Tenants rose 8.40%, or 10.51 points, to close at 135.57 some 36% above the pre-covid-19 average, 21% lower than the same week last year, but 10% above the same week 2019.

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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