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According to the report, there are record numbers of buyers enquiring about properties over the last month. In fact, demand for property is 34% higher than it was this time last year. We believe people’s preferences continue to change in the wake of Coronavirus. Instead of rushing back to major city centres, people are choosing to live in suburban and commuter town locations. More space and a different lifestyle have been key drivers of this. In February, Rightmove recorded an average of seven million visits to the site every day, an increase of 40% compared to February 2021.
In stark contrast to the increase in demand, the number of properties coming to market has declined enormously over recent months. People fearing a fall in house prices in 2022 have waited to see how the market responds before listing their property. This has had the effect of increasing average house prices across the UK.
Rightmove has found that the average asking price of a property coming to market has risen by 1.7% (+£5,760) in the last month to £354,564 nationally. The average monthly rise is the largest seen at this time of year since March 2004, pushing the annual rate of increase to 10.4% All regions and countries in the UK except London and Scotland are now up over 10% annually. The increase of 10.4% annual growth is the highest that Rightmove has recorded in any month since June 2014.
Furthermore, despite less property being listed on the market, the number of sales agreed in the first week of March have increased by 12%. As many as two in three properties listed across the UK are now sold subject to contract. This shows the desire of people in the property market.
Will Sellers Return to the Market?
With such a small amount of property available to buy in the UK, it might be worth considering selling now if you are planning to do so in the near future. It is expected that the continued growth in the property market might be enough to alert sellers to sell. This could in turn steady the price inflation. Rightmove’s housing market expert, Tim Bannister explains:
“So many sales have been agreed in recent months that we now face a serious shortage of homes available for sale. There are lots of reasons why many home – owners have hesitated to come to market during the first two months of the year, but these do now seem to be dissipating. A recovery in fresh supply gives more choice to prospective buyers, many of whom are also potential sellers, which in turn encourages more of them to come to market. Greater supply to match the high demand would ease upwards price pressure.”
Considering the unprecedented price growth over the last 18 months, uncertainties surrounding Brexit and Coronavirus and now a war in Europe, this is quite remarkable. We believe it is a testament to the strength of the UK property market which is showing unexpected resilience against world events.
As we always stress, bet against the UK property market at your property. There were many who hesitated to buy in 2020 after the huge house price surge post first lockdown. That hesitation, and the belief that prices would come down soon, will have missed out on an average of 15% capital appreciation. Simply put, if you are interested in investing in property do not wait. Long-term, you will more than likely regret it.
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