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Rightmove reports strong demand despite lockdown 2

The first six days of the second lockdown have seen demand climb by 49% year-on-year, as buyers push forward to make purchases before the March stamp duty deadline.

Rightmove’s House Price Index found that national sales agreed were up 50% on October last year.

It’s estimated that here’s 650,000 sales going through the buying and selling process, 67% more than at the same time in 2019.

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: ‘The mini-boom has been given a further shot in the arm with Lockdown 2.0.

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“Sellers are being more realistic in their pricing and taking advantage of the demand.

“Some sellers were guilty of unrealistic pricing, believing buyers would pay through the roof but now, with the clock ticking before the stamp duty holiday ends in March, they’ve had to become more realistic and accept lower offers or reduce their pricing.”

“Prices and volume levels are astronomically higher than this time last year, when we were facing the general election. Now, with the election long over, Brexit brewing and a possible vaccine for Covid-19, we are hoping for a strong end to the year, before the economic reality of the pandemic really hits.”

Despite this strong activity, surprisingly the average property price coming to market has dropped by -0.5% between September and October.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Although, of course, only reflecting ‘asking’ not ‘selling’ prices, the Rightmove figures confirm what we’ve been seeing on the ground for several weeks.

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“History is repeating itself. Additional restrictions and the threat of another lockdown have delayed – not halted – property moves as buyers and sellers once again demonstrate their determination to negotiate hard and take maximum advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

“Nearly all are acutely aware that delays in arranging mortgages, valuations and conveyancing will mean meeting the 31 March deadline won’t be easy, even if deals are agreed in the next few weeks.

“We have also noticed that the prospect of a vaccine has given an extra boost to viewings this week, even though it is still very early days. But on the other hand, this may make some sellers less likely to accept what they regard as unrealistic offers.”

Aboody reckons it’s likely there will be extension to the stamp duty holiday deadline.

He added: “It would be surprising if the government didn’t extend stamp duty relief beyond March, so as not to coincide with the extended furlough scheme finishing.

“This would significantly help in propping up the market, and needs to be coupled with continued cheap borrowing and the return of higher loan-to-values, to ensure the housing market doesn’t take a huge hit.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Rightmove: New record for average property price

The average price of property coming to market increased by 1.1% (£3,534) in September, to an all-time national record of £323,530, according to the Rightmove House Price Index.

This is 5.5% (£16,818) higher than a year ago, and shows the highest annual growth rate for over four years.

As a result of this trend, Rightmove has forecast that the annual rate of increase will rise further before the end of the year, peaking at around 7%; this is compared to Rightmove’s original forecast of 2% in December last year.

Despite market closure between late March and mid-May, 2% more sales have been agreed so far this year than in the same period in 2019.

September saw three new records for market activity: average time to sell hit 50 days, 12 days faster than the same period last year; for the first time, estate agents had more properties marked as sold than as available for sale; and the number of sales reported was 70% higher than the same period a year ago.

Rightmove also recorded a 49% increase in traffic in September, compared to the same period last year, which is the biggest year-on-year jump since 2006.

So far in October, the number of sales agreed is still 58% up on the same period last year.

The number of active buyers contacting estate agents has reached a high level, up by 66% in September compared to 12 months ago, and only marginally down on the peak of +67% seen in July.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “Previous records are tumbling in this extraordinary market, and there are still some legs left in the upwards march of property prices.

“We predict that the annual rate of growth will peak by December at around 7% higher than a year ago.

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“Many buyers seem willing to pay record prices for properties that fit their changed post-lockdown needs, though agents are commenting that some owners’ price expectations are now getting too optimistic, and not all properties fit the must-have template that buyers are now seeking.

“Not only is the time left to sell and legally complete before the 31 March stamp duty deadline being eaten away by the calendar, but more time is also needed because the sheer volume of sales is making it take longer for sales that have been agreed to complete the process.

“Sellers and their agents should therefore be wary of being too optimistic on their initial asking price, as whilst activity levels continue to amaze there are some signs of momentum easing off from these unprecedented levels.”

Bannister added: “Prospective buyers are seeing properties selling fast and prices rising as they search for their next home, adding to momentum and spurring them on to act quickly.

“With the number of buyers contacting agents still up by two-thirds on a year ago, there is plenty of fuel left in the tank to drive further activity in the run-up to Christmas and into next year.

“There have also been government promises of additional low-deposit mortgage support for first-time buyers, which could prove to be timely as we run up to 31 March.

“It appears that the current momentum, assisted by the prospect of stamp duty savings, is helping to keep the housing market healthy.

“Estate agents have worked hard to give confidence to sellers and buyers alike that property viewings can be conducted safely, and early signs show that market activity still remains high in areas with stricter local lockdowns.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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House-Buying Surges, Gazumping Is Back

Recent house-buying interest has been so great that property portal Rightmove has thought fit to issue guidance on how to avoid gazumping.

July, which is typically a quieter time for the property market, was extraordinarily busy across the UK, reported Rightmove.

‘We saw a massive £37bn worth of property sales-agreed in July – the busiest month for home buying since we started tracking this data over ten years ago. Our latest weekly-sales agreed figure is also up by 60 per cent compared to the same week in 2019 as buyers continue to press ahead with their home-moving plans’.

The portal has also recorded all-time highs in seven regions for new seller asking prices, with rising popularity of countryside locations driving up prices in places such as Devon and Cornwall.

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‘More property is coming to market than a year ago in all regions, and at a national level the new supply and heightened demand seem relatively balanced’, commented Rightmove’s’ Miles Shipside. ‘However, those expressing most desire to move on are unsurprisingly in London and its commuter belt.

‘London has 69 per cent more properties coming to market, with the South East at 60 per cent and the East at 56 per cent. With work and transport patterns potentially changing most around the capital, commuter-belt properties need to have more appeal to prospective buyers than just proximity to a station.

‘Many buyers do appear to be satisfying their new needs in these regions, as the number of sales agreed in each is also at a record level. The out-of-city exodus has helped push prices to record levels in Devon and Cornwall, for example, where working from home means a different lifestyle much closer to your new doorstep’.

Source: Residential Landlord

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Rightmove puts house price index on hold

Rightmove has temporarily halted its monthly house price index following the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

Its final set of data (for now) found that the total available number of homes for sale has fallen by just 2.6% since lockdown.

There were some 65,531 new listings on the site between 8 March and 11 April – compared to 112,570 between 10 March and 6 April 2019.

But the property portal said this marked an “abrupt turnaround from the best start to a year since 2016”, adding that before lockdown sales had been up 11% year-on-year.

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Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: ‘The latest Rightmove survey confirms what we have been seeing on the ground – our offices may be closed but the market is anything but quiet.

“Buyers and sellers are pausing, not cancelling sales, or listings, while continuing to access websites readying themselves for when lockdown restrictions are eased.

“But the market cannot re-start in isolation. We need surveyors to work with lenders, agents, and solicitors to ensure successful transitions as well as continuation of social distancing and safe visiting.”

Despite listings continuing Rightmove has said it will park its index for now.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Given the lockdown and pausing of key activities in the housing market, statistics on the number of properties coming to market, new seller asking prices, and new sales agreed are not meaningful.

“You do not have a functioning market when buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell.”

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Rightmove: Sellers pause rather than cancel activity

Most sellers already on the market, and those with a sale already agreed, are continuing with their plans to move once it is deemed safe enough, Rightmove’s House Price Index has found.

Despite the lockdown total stock for sale has only fallen by 2.6% since the lockdown.

Rightmove said there weren’t enough properties coming to market to calculate seller asking prices, the number coming to market or new sales agreed.

Pre-lockdown sales were up 11% year-on-year up to 23 March, as the market has gone from having the best start since 2016 to new sales being almost impossible.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Agents report that there is good co-operation, with both buyers and sellers keen to hold deals together.

“While some buyers may express concern over the possibility of short-term dips in house prices, many are taking the longer-term view and living up to their commitments to proceed.

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“This is being helped by mortgage lenders extending the life of existing mortgage offers by three months, and new legal rules on flexible completion dates.”

In order for the market to make a strong return once the lockdown ends, Rightmove said there must be a continuation of mortgage lending on the same terms as before the lockdown, aided by government incentives.

Meanwhile there should be forbearance by lenders to limit forced sales until employment levels recover.

Finally the industry will need to find ways of allowing viewings safely, as social distancing measures may continue for some time.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “The latest Rightmove survey confirms what we have been seeing on the ground – our offices may be closed but the market is anything but quiet. Buyers and sellers are pausing, not cancelling sales, or listings, while continuing to access websites readying themselves for when lockdown restrictions are eased.

“But the market cannot re-start in isolation. We need surveyors to work with lenders, agents, and solicitors to ensure successful transitions as well as continuation of social distancing and safe visiting.”

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire