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Housing market stabilising during second lockdown

The housing market in England and Wales is displaying signs of stabilising, according to analysis of web traffic from property advice website Property Price Advice.

Valuation requests on the website have broadly returned to their four-year average, representing a significant fall from the immediate post-lockdown spike.

Requests in June were almost 70% above the four-year average, the highest ever recorded on the website.

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Peter Sherrard, founder of Property Price Advice, said: “Activity from our web users (via natural searches) in October was closer to what we’ve been seeing over the last few years, and shows that the buzz of the post-lockdown summer market is certainly cooling off.

“We will be monitoring activity with a close eye and it will be interesting to see if the second lockdown will see a repeat of house-hunter activity from the first.

“Clearly the dynamics of unemployment, mortgage lending criteria, general housing supply for sale, all coupled with a potential covid vaccine, will have a profound effect on transaction levels and potentially price.”

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

Property Price Advice also has a computer model designed by economic consultants Pragmatix Advisory, which translates this web activity into housing price and transaction forecasts for the next eight weeks.

Given the level of activity, average house prices for November and December are expected to be 3.3% ahead of the same months in 2019.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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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.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

“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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Mortgage searches on the rise as second lockdown began

Twenty7Tec has released figures on the state of the mortgage market one week after the second UK lockdown began.

The findings showed that weekly mortgage search volumes are currently at 87.79% of the year’s highest figure, up 6.8% on the week before.

Weekly buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage search volumes are at 92.09% of the year’s high, up 8.0% on last week.

Weekly residential mortgage search volumes are at 87.56% of the year’s high, up 6.8% on last week.

In regard to ESIS documents, weekly mortgage ESIS documentation figures are currently at 91.42% of the year’s highest figure, up 7.5% on the week before.

Weekly BTL mortgage ESIS documentation figures are currently at 89.75% of the year’s highest figure, up 7.8% on the week before.

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Weekly residential mortgage ESIS documentation figures are currently at 90.13% of the year’s highest figure, up 7.4% on the week before.

James Tucker, chief executive of Twenty7Tec, said: “Each time we go into a lockdown, regional or national, there is a drop-off in the volume of mortgage searches that takes place, and also a drop-off in the number of ESIS documents prepared.

“The dip in volumes actually happens in the few days before the lockdown begins as customers focus on dealing with the practical elements of a lockdown.

“Then, immediately as the lockdown starts, mortgage search volumes begin to rise again.

“We’ve seen it again and again this year on a UK-wide, home nation and regional level before and just after we enter lockdown.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

“Any drop is then is consistently mirrored by a spike of mortgage search volumes within a day or two of the lockdown beginning.

“There was a definite blip in activity last week as people mentally prepared for lockdown 2.0.

“For context, last week’s drops were less than we’d expect in a bank holiday week.

“In lockdown 2.0, we are still seeing search volumes higher than we did in pre-lockdown Spring.

“That feels like a world away now, but was, at the time, incredibly busy for all our clients.

“BTL currently forms 19.11% of all searches in the past week and 20.87% of all documents prepared against in the past week.

“BTL searches volumes have been relatively steady all year and those searches are converted into ESIS documents more often than residential searches.”

By Jessica Nangle

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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