Property website, Rightmove released their housing report and said 2021’s housing market was ‘defined by people’s sustained desire to move coupled with decreasing numbers of homes for sale, and this continues as we enter a busy New Year'.
According to the property report, the average price of property coming to market increased by 0.3% this month (+£852), to £341,019. Asking prices typically see an uplift in January, though this month’s figure is compared with an unusual drop in January last year as the rush to beat the March stamp duty deadline started to abate.
Rightmove has found that the national average asking prices are now 7.6% higher than this time last year, an annual rate of growth not seen, since the 8.3% recorded back in May 2016. Rightmove says the rise in average asking prices this month is driven by homes in the ”top of the ladder” and “first-time buyer” sectors, with first-time-buyer type homes hitting a new record average asking price of £214,176.
Early bird seller’s advantage
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data comments: “New Year sellers and buyers have been quick off the mark this year, with Rightmove recording the highest ever number of Boxing Day sellers coming to market. These early-bird sellers who got themselves ready to come to market are now benefitting from the busiest start to the year that we’ve ever recorded, with the number of prospective buyers enquiring about homes up 15% on this time last year.”
Bannister continued: “People who have made it their New Year’s resolution to move are finding asking prices are within just one per cent of the record from October last year, and are at the highest level ever recorded for first-time-buyer type homes.”
Supply vs demand
Bannister also pinpointed the East Midlands, South West and South East of England as regions “in most urgent need of new supply” because “they are now at unsustainable rates of annual price growth above 10%.”
According to Rightmove, the number of homes available for sale per estate agency branch has hit another record low of 12 properties, down by two from last month. The small number of homes that are on the market continue to be purchased quickly by determined buyers, with the average time to find a buyer in December 2021 being more than two weeks quicker than in the same period the previous year.
More sellers potentially coming to the market
While the low number of available homes may appear disheartening for buyers still looking to make 2022 their year to move, there are early indications of more property choice coming to market soon. Encouragingly, the number of requests to an estate agent to value a property, traditionally the first part of a seller’s journey in coming to market, jumped up by 44% in the first working week of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 and increased by 48% when compared to 2020. This first working week was the busiest ever opening to a year for home valuation requests, and the first working day, 4th January, saw the fifth-highest number of valuation requests in a single day that Rightmove has ever recorded.
Rightmove’s data shows that competition among buyers for available homes also remains strong as we move into 2022, with 15% more enquiries from would-be buyers to estate agents than at the same time last year. With both more enquiries from buyers and fewer properties available, the overall level of buyer interest per available property is almost double what it was at the start of 2021, which was itself a very active market. As a result, more than 70% of the properties currently on estate agents’ books have already been sold, leaving less than 30% still available to buy.
Advice for buyers
Bannisters advises buyers: “The speed at which we’ve seen the fresh choice that has come to market being snapped up by eager buyers over the past 18 months is a reminder to buyers to move fast and book a viewing with the estate agent as soon as a property that could be the one for you comes to market.”
Bannister continues: “Almost 40% of people enquiring about a home who have a property to sell say that they are yet to put it on the market. In the current market, where they are competing against other buyers who are able to move more quickly, this is likely to mean they’ll miss out on the home they want. To put yourself in the best possible position to proceed, you should become a ‘power buyer’, by making sure your current home is on the market or preferably sold subject to contract first, before starting the search for your new home.”