Lockdown 2 has caused only the smallest of blips in the housing market and, throughout, demand has remained substantially above recent November averages. For the first six days, while buyers were adjusting to the conditions, demand was up 28% on last year. That figure then jumped to 49% for the rest of the month. At the same time, surprisingly, asking prices dipped by 0.5%. We will need to see the outcome of tier 3.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data explains:
“Given the ongoing mini-boom, prices might have been expected to rise again this month, but instead, we have a slight dip which could be a result of some new sellers pricing more realistically to have a better chance of agreeing a sale in time to benefit from the stamp duty savings on their onward purchase.”
He goes on to point out:
”We know from a recent Rightmove study that sellers are twice as likely to sell if they agree a sale based on the first price at which their property goes on the market, something that’s even more important now as we move towards the end of March and the end of the stamp duty holiday.”
Across the country, agreed sales were up 50%, year-on-year. That activity, though, was focused on some very specific areas, both in terms of value and location. Sales volumes for properties between £100,000 and £200,000 rose by 16% but more than doubled (106%) for those between £400,000 and £500,000 where the maximum stamp duty savings occur.
There are considerably more properties at those price levels in the more southerly areas, so it’s no surprise to find that the East (up 72%) and the South East of England (up 69%) saw some of the biggest uplifts in sales. With access to mortgages restricted for first-time buyers, those purchases were mostly being made by upsizers and second-steppers.
Normally, in the run-up to Christmas, the property market would now quieten down considerably. However, with the end date for the stamp duty holiday fast approaching (March 31st), that is unlikely this year. There are currently around 650,000 purchases in the pipeline and delays in almost every aspect of the buying process.
There will, no doubt, be more deals to add to that list, although Zoopla warns that only around 50% of purchases made in January will complete in time. As a result, December and January are expected to be far busier than usual. There have been some positive rumblings from politicians about the possibility of extending the stamp duty holiday, but nothing concrete and we will almost certainly have to wait until the New Year to see if anything comes of it.
Speaking of the New Year, everyone at Global Asset Finance Limited would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a smoother, happier 2021.