Why is the housing market so busy right now?

Every day you’ll no doubt be hearing different things about what’s happening in the housing market.

In the same week you could hear that house prices are going up, and also that they fell a few months ago, as each report can be looking at a different time period.

At Rightmove we track what’s happening at the start of the home-moving journey, which means we’re able to see what’s happening to prices before anyone else.

We also look at how many buyers are viewing and enquiring about homes on Rightmove and we monitor how quickly homes are selling.

Most importantly, we want to make sure you know what all of these numbers mean for you, if you’re buying, selling or considering a move in the future.

Here are our five key takeaways on the property market this month:

1. It’s a great time to sell your home

Properties are selling within 45 days on average, which is almost three weeks faster than the start of the year and the fastest pace we’ve ever recorded on Rightmove.

The number of potential buyers is also at a record high right now, putting you in a good position to get a good price and a quick sale if you’re thinking of selling. The best way of finding out exactly how much your home is worth is to arrange a property valuation by a local estate agent.

2. There are more buyers looking to move than the number of homes there are for sale

But in the past two months we’ve seen more homes coming up for sale – more than 260,000 new sellers came to market in the last two months alone. If you’re looking to buy, you’re likely to find it’s most competitive right now for homes with three bedrooms or more. We can let you know as soon as a new property is listed in your perfect location if you sign up an Instant Property Alert.

3. What’s happening to asking prices right now?

Asking prices are at a record high and up in all regions compared to before the pandemic. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, asking prices have risen the fastest in Wales, followed by the North West of England.

The average asking price of a property has now reached a record high of more than a third of a million pounds (£333,564) in Great Britain. In London, prices are at a standstill, but at £640,000, the average cost of a home in the capital is still almost three times higher than in the northern regions of Britain.

4. What’s the latest on rental prices?

Across Great Britain, we are seeing huge demand for rental homes in this exceptionally busy housing market. Asking rents outside London keep rising and have hit another record high, at an average of £982 per calendar month, which is the highest annual rise since 2015. In London, asking rents have dropped in two thirds (65%) of areas. You can find out more here.

5. What’s the advice for first-time buyers?

If you’re a first-time buyer hoping to find a home in a buzzing city centre, we might have some good news for you. It’s now cheaper to buy a home in some of Britain’s largest and most popular city centres than it was at the start of the year. You can find out more here.

So now is a good time to buy a place, while prices are cheaper than normal and mortgage lenders are offering competitive low-deposit loans.

Also, in England and Northern Ireland, as a first-time buyer you won’t pay any stamp duty tax on the first £300,000 of a property. In Wales, you’ll pay Land Transaction Tax on the portion of a property priced above £180,000 from 1st July 2021 (the current threshold is £250,000) and in Scotland, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax applies to first-time buyers of properties priced over £175,000.

Our property expert Tim Bannister tracks all of the numbers for us. Here’s his advice this month:

Family homes with three bedrooms or more are like gold dust in many areas of the country, especially in parts of the north. So if you are considering a move and have a sought-after home like this, I’d be seriously considering coming to market now.

If you have the budget to upsize but will be selling a property before you move, I’d advise getting your own property on the market first before you look for somewhere. This puts you in a much stronger position when you do find ‘the one’.

If you need a mortgage, and especially if this will be your first time applying for one, do your research on what’s available to you, and get what’s called a ‘Mortgage in principle’ before you ask agents to view homes you’re interested in. You’ll be showing them you’re serious and that you have all your finances already sorted.

What advice do estate agents have for those thinking of buying or selling a home?

Mark Manning, Managing Director of Yorkshire-based Manning Stainton, says that because there are more buyers than there are properties for sale, prices are continuing to be pushed up. “We can see little sign of this abating and would predict that even with the end of the present stamp duty incentive that prices will continue to rise through the rest of this year and likely beyond,” he says.

Becky Munday, Managing Director at Munday’s Estate Agents in London, agrees: “Buyer demand shows no sign of abating and may well increase once international travel resumes and the overseas market can return. I have never seen a sellers’ market quite like it.

“The window of opportunity for sellers may be closing soon, however, as a wave of newly vaccinated homeowners – who feel more confident about listing their homes now the virus is under control – is set to join the house moving frenzy and level up the playing field.”


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