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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.

“Sellers are being more realistic in their pricing and taking advantage of the demand.

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“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.

“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.

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

“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.”


Source: Property Wire

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Rightmove: New record for average property price

The average price of property coming to market increased by 1.1% (£3,534) in September, to an all-time national record of £323,530, according to the Rightmove House Price Index.

This is 5.5% (£16,818) higher than a year ago, and shows the highest annual growth rate for over four years.

As a result of this trend, Rightmove has forecast that the annual rate of increase will rise further before the end of the year, peaking at around 7%; this is compared to Rightmove’s original forecast of 2% in December last year.

Despite market closure between late March and mid-May, 2% more sales have been agreed so far this year than in the same period in 2019.

September saw three new records for market activity: average time to sell hit 50 days, 12 days faster than the same period last year; for the first time, estate agents had more properties marked as sold than as available for sale; and the number of sales reported was 70% higher than the same period a year ago.

Rightmove also recorded a 49% increase in traffic in September, compared to the same period last year, which is the biggest year-on-year jump since 2006.

So far in October, the number of sales agreed is still 58% up on the same period last year.

The number of active buyers contacting estate agents has reached a high level, up by 66% in September compared to 12 months ago, and only marginally down on the peak of +67% seen in July.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “Previous records are tumbling in this extraordinary market, and there are still some legs left in the upwards march of property prices.

“We predict that the annual rate of growth will peak by December at around 7% higher than a year ago.

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“Many buyers seem willing to pay record prices for properties that fit their changed post-lockdown needs, though agents are commenting that some owners’ price expectations are now getting too optimistic, and not all properties fit the must-have template that buyers are now seeking.

“Not only is the time left to sell and legally complete before the 31 March stamp duty deadline being eaten away by the calendar, but more time is also needed because the sheer volume of sales is making it take longer for sales that have been agreed to complete the process.

“Sellers and their agents should therefore be wary of being too optimistic on their initial asking price, as whilst activity levels continue to amaze there are some signs of momentum easing off from these unprecedented levels.”

Bannister added: “Prospective buyers are seeing properties selling fast and prices rising as they search for their next home, adding to momentum and spurring them on to act quickly.

“With the number of buyers contacting agents still up by two-thirds on a year ago, there is plenty of fuel left in the tank to drive further activity in the run-up to Christmas and into next year.

“There have also been government promises of additional low-deposit mortgage support for first-time buyers, which could prove to be timely as we run up to 31 March.

“It appears that the current momentum, assisted by the prospect of stamp duty savings, is helping to keep the housing market healthy.

“Estate agents have worked hard to give confidence to sellers and buyers alike that property viewings can be conducted safely, and early signs show that market activity still remains high in areas with stricter local lockdowns.”

By Jessica Bird

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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House-Buying Surges, Gazumping Is Back

Recent house-buying interest has been so great that property portal Rightmove has thought fit to issue guidance on how to avoid gazumping.

July, which is typically a quieter time for the property market, was extraordinarily busy across the UK, reported Rightmove.

‘We saw a massive £37bn worth of property sales-agreed in July – the busiest month for home buying since we started tracking this data over ten years ago. Our latest weekly-sales agreed figure is also up by 60 per cent compared to the same week in 2019 as buyers continue to press ahead with their home-moving plans’.

The portal has also recorded all-time highs in seven regions for new seller asking prices, with rising popularity of countryside locations driving up prices in places such as Devon and Cornwall.

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‘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’, commented Rightmove’s’ Miles Shipside. ‘However, those expressing most desire to move on are unsurprisingly in London and its commuter belt.

‘London has 69 per cent more properties coming to market, with the South East at 60 per cent and the East at 56 per cent. 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’.

Source: Residential Landlord

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Rightmove says buyers and sellers are sticking with their plans to move

The vast majority of buyers and sellers with sales already agreed or those hoping to move when lockdown ends are intending to continue with their plans, according to data out from Rightmove over the weekend.

Most of the properties that were on the market for sale before lockdown have stayed on the market, with total available stock for sale down just 2.2%.

A survey conducted on a live webinar by Rightmove this week asked people if their plans before lockdown had now changed.

Four in ten(40%) buyers and sellers said they were going ahead as planned and over half (54%) said they had postponed their plans for now but were planning to continue after the lockdown ends.

This determination coincides with early signs that more home-hunters are researching and searching now in an effort to move home once the government signals it is safe to do so.

Visits to Rightmove initially dropped by 40% at the start of lockdown, and have been recovering slowly over the past few weeks.

Last week they were up over 20% when compared with the first few days of lockdown.

Rightmove’s Commercial Director and Housing Market Analyst Miles Shipside comments:

“The resolve of buyers and sellers to carry on with their sale is clear, whether it’s those who are going through the conveyancing process already or those who currently have their home on the market or want to buy when lockdown ends.

“The longer people are spending in their homes the more they may be considering not just a new home but also a new location, and are starting to research and search for their next move, leading to this slow but steady recovery in activity.

“It’s very early days for the market and will still take some months for the industry to find its feet but these signs are encouraging.”

There are signs of a shift in the percentage of people considering a move from the city they currently live in, with agents also reporting increased interest in smaller towns.

This time last year, 42% of Londoners enquiring about a property were looking to move outside of the capital, and this has risen to over half (51%) this April.

There is a similar trend in Edinburgh where 60% of residents are looking to move outside, up from 53% in April 2019.

In Birmingham, half of those living there are enquiring inside the city and half outside the city, up from 45% looking outside the city last year.

There are similar shifts in other cities including Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Bristol.

Shipside says:

”It’s not unusual for there to be a large proportion of would-be buyers considering a move out of a city if they’re looking for a more affordable place to buy for the first time or to trade up but get more for their money, but there’s been a notable shift during lockdown of more contemplating out-of-city moves.

“It remains to be seen how people’s commutes may change when lockdown is over.

“Some people may already be thinking of moving further out from their current place of work if they can perhaps work from home a few days a week, which opens up a number of new areas they had never considered before.”

Righmove has also published some views of local agents:

Reece Giles, branch manager at Douglas Allen Estate Agents in Brentwood, said:

“We’ve definitely seen an uplift in people looking to move out of the more built-up areas from nearby London boroughs. Interest has kind of gone through the roof, really.

“The proof will be in the pudding, but from what we are seeing right now, it seems that people are genuine about wanting to escape the inner city because that’s not the life they want anymore.

“I think the market overall is still very resilient. Buyers and sellers who have their heart set on moving still want to move”

Helen Burley, sales manager at Fine & Country in Woldingham, said:

“We’ve definitely seen a trend of people moving from the city to live in our village. The people that we’ve been speaking with since lockdown who want to move from London absolutely can’t wait to move to the village.”

Mark Collins, owner of Collins Independent Estate Agents in Guildford, said:

“We’ve seen lots of interest in the sales side from people up in London. People are realising that they don’t need to be in the thick of it to be operational. People are naturally working from home more, because it’s been made possible. Our registrations are up and I definitely think the trend of people moving out of London will continue.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

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Rightmove puts house price index on hold

Rightmove has temporarily halted its monthly house price index following the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

Its final set of data (for now) found that the total available number of homes for sale has fallen by just 2.6% since lockdown.

There were some 65,531 new listings on the site between 8 March and 11 April – compared to 112,570 between 10 March and 6 April 2019.

But the property portal said this marked an “abrupt turnaround from the best start to a year since 2016”, adding that before lockdown sales had been up 11% year-on-year.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: ‘The latest Rightmove survey confirms what we have been seeing on the ground – our offices may be closed but the market is anything but quiet.

“Buyers and sellers are pausing, not cancelling sales, or listings, while continuing to access websites readying themselves for when lockdown restrictions are eased.

“But the market cannot re-start in isolation. We need surveyors to work with lenders, agents, and solicitors to ensure successful transitions as well as continuation of social distancing and safe visiting.”

Despite listings continuing Rightmove has said it will park its index for now.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Given the lockdown and pausing of key activities in the housing market, statistics on the number of properties coming to market, new seller asking prices, and new sales agreed are not meaningful.

“You do not have a functioning market when buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell.”

By Ryan Fowler

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Rightmove: Sellers pause rather than cancel activity

Most sellers already on the market, and those with a sale already agreed, are continuing with their plans to move once it is deemed safe enough, Rightmove’s House Price Index has found.

Despite the lockdown total stock for sale has only fallen by 2.6% since the lockdown.

Rightmove said there weren’t enough properties coming to market to calculate seller asking prices, the number coming to market or new sales agreed.

Pre-lockdown sales were up 11% year-on-year up to 23 March, as the market has gone from having the best start since 2016 to new sales being almost impossible.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Agents report that there is good co-operation, with both buyers and sellers keen to hold deals together.

“While some buyers may express concern over the possibility of short-term dips in house prices, many are taking the longer-term view and living up to their commitments to proceed.

“This is being helped by mortgage lenders extending the life of existing mortgage offers by three months, and new legal rules on flexible completion dates.”

In order for the market to make a strong return once the lockdown ends, Rightmove said there must be a continuation of mortgage lending on the same terms as before the lockdown, aided by government incentives.

Meanwhile there should be forbearance by lenders to limit forced sales until employment levels recover.

Finally the industry will need to find ways of allowing viewings safely, as social distancing measures may continue for some time.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “The latest Rightmove survey confirms what we have been seeing on the ground – our offices may be closed but the market is anything but quiet. Buyers and sellers are pausing, not cancelling sales, or listings, while continuing to access websites readying themselves for when lockdown restrictions are eased.

“But the market cannot re-start in isolation. We need surveyors to work with lenders, agents, and solicitors to ensure successful transitions as well as continuation of social distancing and safe visiting.”


Source: Property Wire

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UK house prices set to rise 2% in 2020 – Rightmove

UK house prices will rise 2% over the next year, Rightmove said on Monday, as it revealed the smallest decline in December asking prices since 2006.

The property website said: “Home-mover confidence and activity have been dogged by political uncertainty since the 2016 referendum. With a clear majority in the election, there is now an opportunity to release some of the pent-up demand in the spring, and for some modest upwards price movement.

“Sellers’ pricing power will be enhanced by a lack of choice for potential buyers, with the proportion of estate agent stock that is available for purchase at its lowest for over two years.”

Rightmove director and housing market analyst Miles Shipside said that although the expected 2% rise is more than twice the current annual rate of 0.8%, it’s still a relatively marginal increase as it’s a price-sensitive market.

“There will be regional variations,” said Shipside. “London is finally showing tentative signs of bottoming out, and we expect a more modest price rise of +1% in all of the southern regions where buyer affordability remains most stretched. In contrast, the largest increases will be in the more northerly regions, repeating the pattern of 2019 with increases in the range of 2% to 4%.”

Rightmove said asking prices fell 0.9% in December to £300,025, marking the smallest drop at this time of year since December 2006. Prices had fallen 1.3% in November.

By Michele Maatouk

Source: ShareCast

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Rightmove: House prices to flatten in 2019

Rightmove has predicted flat house price growth of 0% in 2019.

It said the prediction is based on the sound fundamentals of the housing market in combination with increased political and economic uncertainty.

Not that prices will be flat across the board, as Rightmove said the Northern half of the UK will see prices rise by 2-4%, while London commuter belt regions should see prices fall by around 2%.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Since the property market’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, many parts of the Northern half of the UK have seen marginal or relatively modest price increases.

“We predict that these areas will continue to see price rises, though tempered by affordability constraints. In contrast, regions in and around the influence of London saw prices go up in a five-year period by an average of around 40%.

“Consequently, we forecast that these previously booming areas will continue to see modest downward price re-adjustments in 2019.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Rightmove: UK property prices fall 1.7%, largest drop in six years

UK property pricing coming to market have fallen by £5222 this month, representing a 1.7% decline and the largest drop since November 2012, according to the latest Rightmove house price index data.

With Christmas fast approaching leaving many more strapped for cash and on-going uncertainty surrounding Brexit, new sellers are pricing ‘more realistically’ to offset pre-Xmas ‘buyer humbug’ syndrome, the online estate agent and property website said.

‘New sellers and their agents are reacting to market forces and lowering their pricing aspirations by more and sooner than usual,’ Rightmove Director Miles Shipside said. ‘Stretched buyer affordability and the cooling markets in the south and in upper price brackets have combined with the ongoing political uncertainty to change pricing optimism into pricing realism.

‘This is a welcome effort by sellers to minimise the usual pre-Christmas market slowdown. Some new-to-the-market sellers and their agents have acted early to try to improve the buying mood and avoid the traditional “buyer humbug” dislike of Christmas housing activity,’ he added.

Christmas comes early for home buyers

The larger than average decrease in house prices is sharper with the UK economy showing signs of cooling down with retail sales falling this quarter.

Housing prices fell across all regions of the UK, but the most significant decline was seen in the south of England.

The average asking price fell from £307,245 to 302,023, with homes at the top of the housing ladder seeing an average decline of 2.4%, down to 531,775 from 545,020, according to the Rightmove’s house price index.

‘While many thought that the down-to-the-wire Brexit deal uncertainty would hold people back from buying, more buyers have actually jumped in,’ Shipside said.

‘Some buyers see this pre-Christmas price lull as a gift to their negotiations. It proves that people need to get on with their lives and will continue to buy homes if the underlying economic fundamentals remain strong,’ he added.

Source: IG

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Sellers struggling to shift property swiftly

The average price of a property coming on to the market in January is up by nearly £2,000 compared with December, but sales are down by 5.5 per cent on the same period a year ago.

This is according to Rightmove, which tracks 90 per cent of the UK property market.

Rightmove reported there had been a “busy start” to 2018, with more than 4 million visits a day to its site, up nearly a tenth on last year.

The annual rate of price increase in newly-marketed property is 1.1 per cent, although at a more local level prices are running 4 to 6 per cent up in some regions, with only London (minus 3.5 per cent) recording a year-on-year fall.

But sellers may be being over-optimistic in their pricing and may have to reduce the price tag for their property in order to find buyers.

Rightmove reported the average time to sell a property has jumped to 67 days compared to 55 days last summer.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: “Considering some of the gales that buffeted the market in the latter part of 2017, these early readings for 2018 show that there is currently a good following wind of search activity.

“To keep this year’s initial buyer momentum with you rather than against, serious sellers should note that all regions are currently selling at a slower rate than a year ago, indicating choosier buyers.

“The total number of sales agreed was 5.5 per cent down in the last quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.

“Setting tempting asking prices and then quickly reducing them if there is little initial interest will be key to turning this promising level of buyer activity into actual sales, especially in the less active sectors and locations of the UK.”

Jeremy Duncombe, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Despite continued year-on-year house price growth, 2018 is off to a realistic start.

“House price growth is now far more in line with inflation than in previous years, and couple this with competitive mortgage rates and a stamp duty exemption, first-time buyers should find it that little bit easier to get on the property ladder.

“Whilst we expect to see house price inflation remain at their current steady levels, we encourage would-be buyers to speak with a mortgage broker, who will be able to provide them with a better understanding of the thousands of products on the market and help them find the best product to suit their needs.”

Source: FT Adviser