The weather is warming up and the trees are turning green again – and that means one thing for the property market: The start of another busy spring.
This year, however, is looking like the year of the seller – so, if you’re thinking of taking the next step on the property ladder, now is the time to seriously consider selling. The gap between buyer demand and supply of available properties is bigger than at any other time in the past 10 years, according to Rightmove.
And with buyers desperate to secure savings from the extended stamp duty ‘holiday’, a record-breaking spring season is firmly on the cards.
UK property market news: Spring 2021
The ‘strongest sellers’ market for a decade’ is how Rightmove described the upcoming spring season in its February Property Portal – and the statistics back up that claim. Traffic to the property portal grew in both January and February, while enquiries from buyers to estate agents are also on the rise:
• Visits to Rightmove’s property portal rose by 33% in January, with estate agent buyer enquiries increasing by 12% against January 2020
• February saw a 45% increase in portal visits, while buyer enquiries were 18% higher than in February the previous year
March ‘property fever’, meanwhile, will have been boosted by the confirmation of the stamp duty ‘holiday’ extension until June 30.
The spring budget effect
Rumours of an extension to the stamp duty ‘holiday’ beyond March 31 were in circulation long before the spring Budget on March 3.
But traffic to the Parkers website was already on the march long before that announcement, as buyers eagerly searched for new properties coming to market:
• Our busiest week of 2021 so far on the website occurred in the week commencing January 10
• Traffic was strong right up until the Budget announcement, with Tuesday, February 2 seeing the most views we’ve had on a single day in 2021 so far and an increase of 13% on July 8, 2020 – when the stamp duty ‘holiday’ was announced
• Traffic in January and February was very strong, with increases of 6% and 25% year on year
Demand vs supply
Rightmove’s prediction of the strongest sellers’ market in 10 years is based around a huge discrepancy in supply and demand currently.
On one side, we have eager buyers, desperate to find a property and complete before the new stamp duty deadline of June 30.
And on the other, we have a lack of properties coming to the market, with Rightmove reporting an average stock per agent of 59 homes – a substantial nationwide drop compared with the 66 properties per agent reported in October 2020. Rightmove also reported in its February Price Index that every property currently for sale in the UK is getting 34% more buyer enquiries than those properties on the market a year ago.
On top of that, sales are agreed on an estimated two of every three properties on the market right now.
However, sales, were up by 12% year on year in the first week of March according to Rightmove, suggesting more properties are coming to market and buyers are starting to find the homes they’re searching for. Rightmove also revealed:
• The portal had, on average, seven million visits every day in February – a 40% increase on February 2020
• A small 5% fall in new properties going on the market during the first week of March – suggesting sellers are now starting to put their properties up for sale
UK property prices: Spring 2021
Asking prices in the UK rose by 0.5% between January and February, taking the UK average asking price to £318,580 –3% up on the previous year.
Prices by market sector
Top of ladder
Regional property prices in the UK
UK rental prices: Spring 2021
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows rental prices across the UK grew by 1.3% in the year to January 2021.
Landlords, according to Rightmove’s most recent Rental Price Tracker, though, are enjoying average rents of £972 per month – growth of 3.7% year on year.
Property market predictions for the rest of 2021
There was a sense of optimism tinged with caution when the big property market players revealed their price predictions for 2021 at the end of last year.
But with UK property growing in value by 6.6% in 2020, against the odds, and the continued vaccine rollout giving hope for an economic bounce-back in 2021, that optimism is growing. Rightmove predicts price growth of 4% in 2021 – a prediction backed up by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Zoopla, meanwhile, was more cautious alongside PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), with both predicting growth of just 1%.
Now’s the time to secure a quick sale
With buyer demand soaring, now is a great time to secure a quick sale if you’re thinking of putting your home on the market.
The best way to kick off the process is to book a free video valuation of your home and if you have any questions at all about the property market where you live, contact your local branch of Parkers.