The coronavirus pandemic has affected many industries, but the housing market looks set to emerge largely unscathed. The latest Rightmove House Price Index suggests this summer’s property boom shows no signs of slowing down, with sales approaching similar levels to last year despite the sector being inactive for two months.
What is the picture nationally?
Rightmove estimates that there are nearly 40% more sales currently going through the buying and selling process compared to this time last year.
Nationally it is the ‘top of the ladder’ sector (three and four-bed detached homes) which has seen the highest demand, with sales more than doubling at 104% compared to the same period last year and prices reaching a record average of £564,512.
It is not just the most expensive homes which are selling, however. Second-stepper sales also rose by 55% and first-time buyer sales were up by 36%, so there remains a sustained increase across all areas of the market.
What does this mean for buyers?
The increased demand has led to quicker sales across the board. Nationally, the average time to sell a property has fallen to 53 days compared with 62 days in August 2019, but in our area, Yorkshire and the Humber, it is even quicker at 51 days. That means if you’re a buyer in the market for these types of property, you’ll need to act quickly and have things like mortgage agreements and conveyancing solicitors already secured before you make an offer.
What does this mean for sellers?
Asking prices in our areas have seen a sustained rise to record levels. The average house price in the region has risen by 1.6% to £210,128, which makes Yorkshire and the Humber the region with the second-highest price rise in the UK after the North East and takes the annual rise up to 7.2%. This means that sellers can maximise the value of their property in the current market.
As the trend of buyers looking for more space continues, the average price of second stepper (three- or four-bedroom homes) has risen to a new record of £291,618. Sales have also increased by 55% in this sector. This is unlikely to change as the new coronavirus restrictions mean that homeworking is once again being encouraged for the foreseeable future. Owners of these properties are likely to see the biggest difference in the price they can achieve.
Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said: “There’s a new urgency for extra space to be able to work from home, which means that there are different sets of buyers competing for the same type of property. At the start of the year a fourth bedroom was very much a luxury for buyers trading up, but it’s now emerging as a must-have for those who are able to take that step.”
The volume of sales has led to delays further down the line within the conveyancing process as solicitors struggle to cope with demand in recent months.
Having a good legal team to guide you through the process is crucial. Instructing an agent and legal service simultaneously is the best way to ensure there are no delays to the process so it’s a good idea to find an agent who can offer that service.