The latest data from Rightmove shows new sellers joining the rush to beat the March stamp duty deadline has resulted in a slight dip in asking prices of 0.5%, or £1,505 on average, compared to last month, and that national sales agreed are up 50% on October last year.
The property search giant also estimates there are currently 650,000 sales going through the buying and selling process, 67% more than at the same time in 2019. In addition, Rightmove is reporting a 106% uplift in sales agreed and a drop of 23 days in time to secure a buyer in £400,000-£500,000 band, which is largely mirrored by data from Yorkshire’s largest independent estate agent, Dacre, Son & Hartley.
Patrick McCutcheon, head of residential at Dacre, Son & Hartley, which has 20 offices in West and North Yorkshire, said: “We’ve enjoyed a particularly busy summer after reopening from lockdown in May and demand has remained exceptionally high across North and West Yorkshire ever since.
“Many buyers want an improved quality of life and we’ve seen a 24% increase in the number of buyers registered with us who are moving from London and the South East. Yorkshire’s traditional and well serviced market and spa towns, with good rail links, are proving particularly popular and there’s very high demand for mid-market, second step homes with gardens that appeal to professionals and families.
“We currently have hundreds of sales approaching completion and unlike the last major market jolt in 2007/08, funding remains readily available, with historically low interest rates. The end of the stamp duty holiday is now a key deadline in the market and most new sellers are taking a realistic view on pricing, to attract buyers and move before March, which explains the minor price dip reported by Rightmove.”
Patrick added: “The sales process is taking slightly longer due to increased volumes and in certain cases it can now take up to 14 weeks as solicitors, surveyors and lenders work through a backlog of sales. However, there is still time to beat the end of the stamp duty freeze, on 31st March 2021 and saves buyers £15,000 on a £500,000 property, but anyone wanting to do it needs to act now.”
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, commented: “Given the ongoing mini-boom, prices might have been expected to rise again this month, but instead we have a slight dip which could be a result of some new sellers pricing more realistically to have a better chance of agreeing a sale in time to benefit from the stamp duty savings on their onward purchase.
“We know from a recent Rightmove study that sellers are twice as likely to sell if they agree a sale based on the first price at which their property goes on the market, something that’s even more important now as we move towards the end of March and the end of the stamp duty holiday. If your initial asking price is too high, then you’re less likely to get an offer even after you’ve cut your price back to a more realistic level. Our revised prediction of a 7% annual increase in prices in 2020 looks to be on track since the annual rate has jumped to 6.3% with a month to go.”