The number of agreed sales is up by 38% on the prior year, and a massive 20% higher than the previous record……!
Rightmove’s latest house price index shows that the number of monthly sales agreed this month is the highest ever measured since it started tracking the data ten years ago.
The data shows that home movers have put more property on the market and have agreed more sales than in any month for over ten years, worth a record total of over £37 billion.
The number of agreed sales is up by 38% on the prior year, and a massive 20% higher than the previous record set in March 2017.
This is leading to monthly price increases in ten out of twelve regions, with a record high in new seller asking prices in seven of those regions. Prices usually fall at this time of year, as sellers try to tempt holiday distracted buyers, with the national average monthly fall for the last ten years being 1.2%. While there is a slight monthly fall of 0.2%, Rightmove says this is due to London’s more normal seasonal fall of 2.0%, reversing what would otherwise have been an unseasonal national rise.
Rightmove says the increase in activity is not just a result of the stamp duty holiday, as sales agreed are up across all sectors of the market. They’re up 29% in the first-time buyer sector, 38% in the second stepper sector and 59% for larger, top of the ladder homes. Momentum is still building, with the latest weekly figure for the number of sales agreed having shot up by 60% compared to the same week a year ago. As part of the home moving circle, homeowners are bringing more properties to market than in any month since 2008, giving more choice to buyers. There are 44% more properties coming to market compared to the same period a year ago, though there are considerable regional variations.
Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, commented: “There have been many changes as a result of the unprecedented pandemic, and these include a rewriting of the previously predictable seasonal rulebook for housing market activity and prices. Home movers are both marketing and buying more property than we have recorded in any previous month for over ten years, helping push prices to their highest ever level in seven regions. Rather than just a release of existing pent-up demand due to the suspension of the housing market during lockdown, there’s an added layer of additional demand due to people’s changed housing priorities after the experience of lockdown. This is also keeping up the momentum of the unexpected mini boom, which is now going longer and faster. We associate this time of year with diving into the pool rather than the property market, and of sand and sun rather than bricks and mortar, but buyers have had a record £37 billion monthly spending spree.
“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. However, those expressing most desire to move on are unsurprisingly in London and its commuter belt. London has 69% more properties coming to market, with the South East at 60% and the East at 56%. 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.”
Tomer Aboody, Director of Property lender MT Finance, said: “The shift from quiet summer for the housing market to a manic one isn’t surprising due to quarantine rules imposed on travelling abroad so the vast majority are staying in the UK and getting on with buying and selling. This buoyant surge in sales and properties coming to market underlines the shift in priorities in terms of buyers’ attitude to moving and their requirements. Outside London, the housing market has been busy with workers looking for commuter belt homes which are cheaper than the capital but also bigger for working from home and with outside space for the children. The market is set to be busy for a while, due to the stamp duty holiday and with possible further stimulus to come in the autumn Budget, which could make Risihi Sunak more popular than Santa come Christmas.”
Marc von Grundherr, Director of estate agency Benham and Reeves, added: “Sales are at unprecedented levels and listings too and so we’re seeing both sides of the property market boiling. This will be partly why the index is showing that asking prices are actually stable currently as there is a seeming harmonious balance between buy-side and sell-side. But the ‘nothing to see here’ of price inaction is completely circumvented by the enormous spike in deals being done because, for agents, transactional volume is more important than price and for now at least property firms are revelling in their new-found breathlessness as they attempt to keep up with both supply and demand. It’s like the late ‘80’s all over again.”